A Change-Centric Approach to Compile Configurable Systems with #ifdefs
Configurable systems typically use #ifdefs to denote variability. Generating and compiling all configurations may be time-consuming. An alternative consists of using variability-aware parsers, such as TypeChef. However, they may not scale. In practice, developers can use sampling strategies to compile only a subset of the configurations. We propose a change-centric approach to compile configurable systems with #ifdefs by analyzing only configurations impacted by a code change. We implement it in a tool called CHECKCONFIGMX, which reports the new compilation errors introduced by the transformation. We perform an empirical study to evaluate 3,913 transformations applied to the 14 largest files of BusyBox, Apache HTTPD, and Expat configurable systems. CHECKCONFIGMX finds 595 compilation errors of 20 types introduced by 41 developers in 214 commits (5.46% of the analyzed transformations). In our study, it reduces at least 50% (an average of 99%) the number of compiled configurations by comparing with the exhaustive approach without considering a feature model. CHECKCONFIGMX may help developers to reduce compilation effort to evaluate fine-grained transformations applied to configurable systems with #ifdefs.
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