How Does Feature Dependency Affect Configurable System Comprehensibility?
Background: Conditional compilation is often used to implement variability in configurable systems. This technique relies on #ifdefs to delimit feature code. Previous studies have shown that #ifdefs may hinder code comprehensibility. However, they did not explicitly took feature dependencies into account. Feature dependency occurs when different features refer to the same program element, such as a variable. Comprehensibility may be even more affected in the presence of feature dependency, as the developer must reason about different scenarios affecting the same variable. Aim: Our goal is to understand how feature dependency affects the comprehensibility of the configurable system source code. Method: We carried out an experiment in which 30 developers debugged programs with different types of feature dependency. We recorded the time each of them had spent to find a bug. Also, we used an eye-tracking device to record developers’ gaze movements while they debugged programs. Results: Debugging programs with global and interprocedural dependency required more time and higher visual effort. Conclusion: Our study showed that #ifdefs affect comprehensibility in different degrees depending on the type of feature dependency. Therefore, when possible, developers should take more care when dealing with code with global and interprocedural dependencies.
Sat 25 May
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Juraj KubelkaUniversity of Chile, Romain RobbesFree University of Bozen-Bolzano, Alexandre BergelUniversity of ChilePre-print
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Lucian GonçalesUniversity of Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS), Kleinner Farias, Bruno da SilvaCal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Jonathan FesslerPre-print
|12:00 - 12:20|
|12:20 - 12:40|