Topology Analysis of Software Dependencies
Before performing a modification task, a developer usually has to investigate the source code of a system to understand how to carry out the task. Discovering the code relevant to a change task is costly because it is a human activity whose success depends on a large number of unpredictable factors, such as intuition and luck. Although studies have shown that effective developers tend to explore a program by following structural dependencies, no methodology is available to guide their navigation through the thousands of dependency paths found in a nontrivial program. The authors describe a technique to automatically propose and rank program elements that are potentially interesting to a developer investigating source code. dependencies in a program.