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What Programmers Say About Refactoring Tools? An Empirical Investigation of StackOverflow  What Programmers Say About Refactoring Tools? An Empirical Investigation of StackOverflow  Presentation Transcript

  • What Programmers Say About Refactoring Tools? An Empirical Investigation of StackOverflow Gustavo Pinto, Fernando Kamei Federal University of Pernambuco {ghlp, fkk}@cin.ufpe.br
  • Researchers Programmers
  • Programmers Researchers What they think about?
  • Programmers Researchers What they think about?
  • Programmers Researchers What they think about?
  • 1.5M Users 3.4M Questions 6.8M Answers 40GB of data A TON of information (with some quality)
  • 1.5M Users 3.4M Questions 6.8M Answers 40GB of data A TON of information (with some quality) But, what about Refactoring Tools?
  • 3.4M Questions Filter questions by “refactoring” and “tools” on the body, or subject or tag name. Store the results in a single MySQL table. 754 Q >2K A from July 31, 2008 to July 31, 2012: ● ● ● 324 Questions 1,135 Answers 1,254 Users The final data! Manual filter to remove false positives
  • 3.4M Questions Filter questions by “refactoring” and “tools” key-word, on the body, or subject or tag name. Store the results in a single MySQL table. 754 Q >2K A from July 31, 2008 to July 31, 2012: ● ● ● 324 Questions 1,135 Answers 1,254 Users The final data! Manual filter to remove false positives
  • 3.4M Questions Filter questions by “refactoring” and “tools” key-word, on the body, or subject or tag name. Store the results in a single MySQL table. 754 Q >2K A from July 31, 2008 to July 31, 2012: ● ● ● 324 Questions 1,135 Answers 1,254 Users 2x The final data! Manual filter to remove false positives
  • Research Questions ● RQ1: What are the most desirable features in refactoring tools? ● RQ2: What are the barriers to adoption of refactoring tools? ● RQ3: How is interest in refactoring tools related to programmer expertise? ● RQ4: Does interest in refactoring tools increase over the years?
  • RQ1: What are the most desirable features in refactoring tools? 1. Refactoring for dynamic languages (78 questions ≈ 24.72%) a. PHP » 29% “I am looking for a python tool that will allow b. JavaScript » 23% me to specifically rename and move c. Python » 23% modules.” d. Ruby » 11% StackOverflow Question #9424189 e. Perl » 9% f. R » 1% g. Perl » 1% h. Matlab » 1%
  • RQ1: What are the most desirable features in refactoring tools? 1. Refactoring for dynamic languages (78 questions ≈ 24.72%) 2. Refactoring recommendations (45 questions ≈ 13.88%) “I would prefer a tool that just makes suggestions about possible refactorings: names the refactoring, optionally provides a short description of it (great for learning purposes), highlights the code section and lets me do the refactoring myself” StackOverflow Question #785667
  • RQ1: What are the most desirable features in refactoring tools? 1. Refactoring for dynamic languages (78 questions ≈ 24.72%) 2. Refactoring recommendations (45 questions ≈ 13.88%) 3. Refactoring for databases (12 questions ≈ 3.71%) a. Automatic simplification of SQL b. Refactoring table or views structure c. Fixing SQL vulnerabilities “I would like to rename a table column in MySql and also have the name updated in any triggers, stored procs, etc. that reference the column. [...] If a tool exists that can perform such a refactoring, it would be great if it could generate an SQL script that applies these changes.” StackOverflow Question #1644271
  • RQ1: What are the most desirable features in refactoring tools? 1. 2. 3. 4. Refactoring for dynamic languages (78 questions ≈ 24.72%) Refactoring recommendations (45 questions ≈ 13.88%) Refactoring for databases (12 questions ≈ 3.71%) Multi-language Refactorings (9 questions ≈ 2.77%) a. All questions related to JVM languages “I have inherited significant amounts of Groovy code, and I have found it difficult to maintain [..]. I have tried to manually convert some pieces to Java, it's been a pain. Are you aware of any tools or plugins that help with this conversion?” StackOverflow Question #5302103
  • RQ2: What are the barriers to adoption of refactoring tools? In order of interest: 1. Usability problems (52 questions ≈ 16%) 1.1. Unknown tool (54%) 1.2. Difficult to learn (13%) 1.3. Difficult to use (8%) 2. Lack of trust (39 questions ≈ 12%)
  • RQ2: What are the barriers to adoption of refactoring tools? In order of interest: 1. Usability problems (16% of Q) 1.1. Unknown tool (54%) 1.2. Difficult to learn (13%) 1.3. Difficult to use (8%) 33% are from novice users 64% 49% What refactoring tool do you use to do X in language Z?
  • RQ2: What are the barriers to adoption of refactoring tools? In order of interest: 1. Usability problems (16% of Q) 1.1. Unknown tool (54%) 1.2. Difficult to learn (13%) 1.3. Difficult to use (8%) Barriers or lack of experience? 33% are from novice users 64% 49% What refactoring tool do you use to do X in language Z?
  • RQ2: What are the barriers to adoption of refactoring tools? In order of interest: 1. Usability problems (16% of Q) 1.1. Unknown tool (54%) 1.2. Difficult to learn (13%) 1.3. Difficult to use (8%) 2. Lack of trust (12 % of Q) Sometimes the tool will change the meaning of your code, without you expecting it. StackOverflow Question #1372059
  • RQ2: What are the barriers to adoption of refactoring tools? In order of interest: 1. Usability problems (16% of Q) 1.1. Unknown tool (54%) 1.2. Difficult to learn (13%) 1.3. Difficult to use (8%) 2. Lack of trust (12 % of Q) “It is not good to decrease readability in favor of atomicity” StackOverflow Question #5302103 Sometimes the tool will change the meaning of your code, without you expecting it. StackOverflow Question #1372059
  • RQ3: How is interest in refactoring tools related to programmer expertise? Or.. do only hackers talk about refactoring tools?
  • RQ3: How is interest in refactoring tools related to programmer expertise? Or.. do only hackers talk about refactoring tools? Q: 39% comes from novices A: 41% comes from seniors Novices Seniors
  • RQ3: How is interest in refactoring tools related to programmer expertise? Or.. do only hackers talk about refactoring tools? Q: 39% comes from novices A: 41% comes from seniors Refactoring tool is a topic that interest all kind of users. Novices Seniors
  • RQ3: How is interest in refactoring tools related to programmer expertise? Or.. do only hackers talk about refactoring tools? Q: 39% comes from novices A: 41% comes from seniors Novices Seniors Also, we ran a Person Correlation between reputation x questions and reputation x answers, but no significant correlation was found.
  • RQ4: Does interest in refactoring tools increase over the years? Questions per month ● Median: 6 ● Mean: 6.75 ● SD: 3.38 ● Max: 20 ● Min: 1 Answers per month ● Median: 18 ● Mean: 23.63 ● SD: 16.23 ● Max: 73 ● Min: 1
  • RQ4: Does interest in refactoring tools increase over the years? Questions per month ● Median: 6 ● Mean: 6.75 ● SD: 3.38 ● Max: 20 ● Min: 1 ● Yes, but very little. Answers per month ● Median: 18 ● Mean: 23.63 ● SD: 16.23 ● Max: 73 ● Min: 1
  • RQ4: Does interest in refactoring tools increase over the years? Questions per month ● Median: 6 ● Mean: 6.75 ● SD: 3.38 ● Max: 20 ● Min: 1 ● Yes, but very little. ● An increment of 0.56 questions per trimester. ● A decrement of -8.13 answers per trimester. Answers per month ● Median: 18 ● Mean: 23.63 ● SD: 16.23 ● Max: 73 ● Min: 1
  • RQ4: Does interest in refactoring tools increase over the years? Questions per month ● Median: 6 ● Mean: 6.75 ● SD: 3.38 ● Max: 20 ● Min: 1 -0.43 without outliers ● Yes, but very little. ● An increment of 0.56 questions per trimester. ● A decrement of -8.13 answers per trimester. Answers per month ● Median: 18 ● Mean: 23.63 ● SD: 16.23 ● Max: 73 ● Min: 1
  • Conclusions ● We provided a set of desired features, as well as common cause for barriers adoption. ○ Insights for researchers and tool vendors ● We observed that novice users produce more questions, and seniors provide the answers. ○ Also, most of the barriers were reported by novice users ● We identified a relative small interest in refactoring tools ○ Mean of 6 questions / month, sd of 4.45
  • What Programmers Say About Refactoring Tools? An Empirical Investigation of StackOverflow Gustavo Pinto, Fernando Kamei Federal University of Pernambuco {ghlp, fkk}@cin.ufpe.br