Mining API Usage Patterns by Applying Method Categorization to Improve Code Completion

Rizky Januar AKBAR  Takayuki OMORI  Katsuhisa MARUYAMA  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E97-D   No.5   pp.1069-1083
Publication Date: 2014/05/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.E97.D.1069
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Knowledge-Based Software Engineering)
Category: 
Keyword: 
sequential pattern mining,  software repositories,  recommendation,  code completion,  

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Summary: 
Developers often face difficulties while using APIs. API usage patterns can aid them in using APIs efficiently, which are extracted from source code stored in software repositories. Previous approaches have mined repositories to extract API usage patterns by simply applying data mining techniques to the collection of method invocations of API objects. In these approaches, respective functional roles of invoked methods within API objects are ignored. The functional role represents what type of purpose each method actually achieves, and a method has a specific predefined order of invocation in accordance with its role. Therefore, the simple application of conventional mining techniques fails to produce API usage patterns that are helpful for code completion. This paper proposes an improved approach that extracts API usage patterns at a higher abstraction level rather than directly mining the actual method invocations. It embraces a multilevel sequential mining technique and uses categorization of method invocations based on their functional roles. We have implemented a mining tool and an extended Eclipse's code completion facility with extracted API usage patterns. Evaluation results of this tool show that our approach improves existing code completion.