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An empirical study on the relation between identifiers and fault proneness

Venera Arnaoudova, Laleh Eshkevari, Rocco Oliveto, Yann-Gaël Guéhéneuc and Giuliano Antoniol

Technical Report (2010)

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Abstract

Poorly-chosen identifiers have been reported in the literature as misleading and increasing the program comprehension effort. Identifiers are composed of terms, which can be dictionary words, acronyms, contractions, or simple strings. We conjecture that the use of identical terms in different contexts may increase the risk of faults. We investigate our conjecture using a measure combining term entropy and term context-coverage to study whether certain terms increase the odds ratios of methods to be fault-prone. Entropy measures the physical dispersion of terms in a program: the higher the entropy, the more scattered across the program the terms. Context coverage measures the conceptual dispersion of terms: the higher their context coverage, the more unrelated the methods using them. We compute term entropy and context-coverage of terms extracted from identifiers in Rhino 1.4R3 and ArgoUML 0.16. We show statistically that methods containing terms with high entropy and context-coverage are more fault-prone than others.

Uncontrolled Keywords

Source code identifiers, fault models, program comprehension

Subjects: 2700 Information technology > 2700 Information technology
2700 Information technology > 2705 Software and development
2700 Information technology > 2706 Software engineering
2700 Information technology > 2720 Computer systems software
Department: Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering
Funders: CRSNG/NSERC, Fonds de recherche Nature et technologies Québec
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/2651/
Report number: EPM-RT-2010-02
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2017 13:52
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2023 21:38
Cite in APA 7: Arnaoudova, V., Eshkevari, L., Oliveto, R., Guéhéneuc, Y.-G., & Antoniol, G. (2010). An empirical study on the relation between identifiers and fault proneness. (Technical Report n° EPM-RT-2010-02). https://publications.polymtl.ca/2651/

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