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Feature location and extraction using landmarks and barriers

Walkinshaw, N.D. and Roper, R.M. and Wood, M.I. (2007) Feature location and extraction using landmarks and barriers. In: 23rd International Conference on Software Maintenance, 2007-10-02 - 2007-10-05.

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Identifying and isolating the source code associated with a particular feature is a problem that frequently arises in many maintenance tasks. The delocalised nature of object oriented systems, where the code associated with a feature is distributed across many interrelated objects, makes this problem particularly challenging. This paper presents an approach that combines 'landmark' methods that have a key role in the execution of a particular feature with slicing to create a call graph of related code. The size of this call graph is constrained by the identification of 'barrier' methods which exclude parts of the graph that are not of interest. The approach is supported by a tool, and the evaluation on three open-source systems yields encouraging results and demonstrates the practical applicability of the technique.