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Empirical Software Engineering manuscript No. (will be inserted by the editor) Adoption and Use of Java Generics

By Chris Parnin, Christian Bird and Emerson Murphy-hill


Abstract Support for generic programming was added to the Java language in 2004, representing perhaps the most significant change to one of the most widely used programming languages today. Researchers and language designers anticipated this addition would relieve many long-standing problems plaguing developers, but surprisingly, no one has yet measured how generics have been adopted and used in practice. In this paper, we report on the first empirical investigation into how Java generics have been integrated into open source software by automatically mining the history of 40 popular open source Java programs, traversing more than 650 million lines of code in the process. We evaluate five hypotheses and research questions about how Java developers use generics. For example, our results suggest that generics sometimes reduce the number of type casts and that generics are usually adopted by a single champion in a project, rather than all committers. We also offer insights into why some features may be adopted sooner and others features may be held back

Topics: annotations, Java, languages
Year: 2014
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:
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