Methodbook: Recommending Move Method Refactorings via Relational Topic Models
De Lucia, A
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During software maintenance and evolution the internal structure of the software system undergoes continuous changes. These modifications drift the source code away from its original design, thus deteriorating its quality, including cohesion and coupling of classes. Several refactoring methods have been proposed to overcome this problem. In this paper we propose a novel technique to identify Move Method refactoring opportunities and remove the Feature Envy bad smell from source code. Our approach, coined as Methodbook, is based on relational topic models (RTM), a probabilistic technique for representing and modeling topics, documents (in our case methods) and known relationships among these. Methodbook uses RTM to analyze both structural and textual information gleaned from software to better support move method refactoring. We evaluated Methodbook in two case studies. The first study has been executed on six software systems to analyze if the move method operations suggested by Methodbook help to improve the design quality of the systems as captured by quality metrics. The second study has been conducted with eighty developers that evaluated the refactoring recommendations produced by Methodbook. The achieved results indicate that Methodbook provides accurate and meaningful recommendations for move method refactoring operations.