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2018 IEEE 25th International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering (SANER) (2018)
Campobasso, Italy
March 20, 2018 to March 23, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5386-4970-1
pp: 38-49
Carmine Vassallo , University of Zurich, Switzerland
Sebastiano Panichella , University of Zurich, Switzerland
Fabio Palomba , University of Zurich, Switzerland
Sebastian Proksch , University of Zurich, Switzerland
Andy Zaidman , Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Harald C. Gall , University of Zurich, Switzerland
ABSTRACT
Automatic static analysis tools (ASATs) are tools that support automatic code quality evaluation of software systems with the aim of (i) avoiding and/or removing bugs and (ii) spotting design issues. Hindering their wide-spread acceptance are their (i) high false positive rates and (ii) low comprehensibility of the generated warnings. Researchers and ASATs vendors have proposed solutions to prioritize such warnings with the aim of guiding developers toward the most severe ones. However, none of the proposed solutions considers the development context in which an ASAT is being used to further improve the selection of relevant warnings. To shed light on the impact of such contexts on the warnings configuration, usage and adopted prioritization strategies, we surveyed 42 developers (69% in industry and 31% in open source projects) and interviewed 11 industrial experts that integrate ASATs in their workflow. While we can confirm previous findings on the reluctance of developers to configure ASATs, our study highlights that (i) 71% of developers do pay attention to different warning categories depending on the development context, and (ii) 63% of our respondents rely on specific factors (e.g., team policies and composition) when prioritizing warnings to fix during their programming. Our results clearly indicate ways to better assist developers by improving existing warning selection and prioritization strategies.
INDEX TERMS
Interviews, Tools, Software, Computer bugs, Programming, Encoding, Lead
CITATION

C. Vassallo, S. Panichella, F. Palomba, S. Proksch, A. Zaidman and H. C. Gall, "Context is king: The developer perspective on the usage of static analysis tools," 2018 IEEE 25th International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering (SANER), Campobasso, Italy, 2018, pp. 38-49.
doi:10.1109/SANER.2018.8330195
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