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Title: Towards characterizing bug fixes through dependency-level changes in Apache Java open source projects
Authors: Cui, Di
Fan, Lingling
Chen, Sen
Cai, Yuanfang
Zheng, Qinghua
Liu, Yang
Liu, Ting
Keywords: Engineering::Computer science and engineering
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Cui, D., Fan, L., Chen, S., Cai, Y., Zheng, Q., Liu, Y. & Liu, T. (2022). Towards characterizing bug fixes through dependency-level changes in Apache Java open source projects. Science China Information Sciences, 65(7), 172101-.
Journal: Science China Information Sciences
Abstract: The complexity and diversity of bug fixes require developers to understand bug fixes from multiple perspectives in addition to fine-grained code changes. The dependencies among files in a software system are an important dimension to inform software quality. Recent studies have revealed that most bug-prone files are always architecturally connected with dependencies, and as one of the best practices in the industry, changes in dependencies should be avoided or carefully made during bug fixing. Hence, in this paper, we take the first attempt to understand bug fixes from the dependencies perspective, which can complement existing code change perspectives. Based on this new perspective, we conducted a systematic and comprehensive study on bug fixes collected from 157 Apache open source projects, involving 140456 bug reports and 182621 bug fixes in total. Our study results show that a relatively high proportion of bug fixes (30%) introduce dependency-level changes when fixing the corresponding 33% bugs. The bugs, whose fixes introduce dependency-level changes, have a strong correlation with high priority, large fixing churn, long fixing time, frequent bug reopening, and bug inducing. More importantly, patched files with dependency-level changes in their fixes, consume much more maintenance costs compared with those without these changes. We further summarized three representative patch patterns to explain the reasons for the increasing costs. Our study unveils useful findings based on qualitative and quantitative analysis and also provides new insights that might benefit existing bug prediction techniques. We release a large set of benchmarks and also implement a prototype tool to automatically detect dependency-level changes from bug fixes, which can warn developers and remind them to design a better fix.
ISSN: 1674-733X
DOI: 10.1007/s11432-020-3317-2
Schools: School of Computer Science and Engineering 
Rights: © 2022 Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Fulltext Permission: none
Fulltext Availability: No Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SCSE Journal Articles

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