Analyzing APIs documentation and code to detect directive defects

Zhou, Yu and Gu, Ruihang and Chen, Taolue and Huang, Zhiqiu and Panichella, Sebastiano and Gall, Harald C. (2017) Analyzing APIs documentation and code to detect directive defects. In: 2017 IEEE/ACM 39th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), 20-28 May 2017, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Abstract

Application Programming Interface (API) documents represent one of the most important references for API users. However, it is frequently reported that the documentation is inconsistent with the source code and deviates from the API itself. Such inconsistencies in the documents inevitably confuse the API users hampering considerably their API comprehension and the quality of software built from such APIs. In this paper, we propose an automated approach to detect defects of API documents by leveraging techniques from program comprehension and natural language processing. Particularly, we focus on the directives of the API documents which are related to parameter constraints and exception throwing declarations. A first-order logic based constraint solver is employed to detect such defects based on the obtained analysis results. We evaluate our approach on parts of well documented JDK 1.8 APIs. Experiment results show that, out of around 2000 API usage constraints, our approach can detect 1158 defective document directives, with a precision rate of 81.6%, and a recall rate of 82.0%, which demonstrates its practical feasibility.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Computer Science > Foundations of Computing group
Item ID: 22020
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Taolue Chen
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 16:19
Last Modified: 14 May 2018 14:07
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/22020

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