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This content will become publicly available on April 1, 2024

Title: From Inheritance to Mockito: An Automatic Refactoring Approach
Unit testing focuses on verifying the functions of individual units of a software system. It is challenging due to the high inter dependencies among software units. Developers address this by mocking—replacing the dependency by a “fake” object. Despite the existence of powerful, dedicated mocking frameworks, developers often turn to a “hand-rolled” approach—inheritance. That is, they create a subclass of the dependent class and mock its behavior through method overriding. However, this requires tedious implementation and compromises the design quality of unit tests. This work contributes a fully automated refactoring framework to identify and replace the usage of inheritance by using Mockito—a well received mocking framework. Our approach is built upon the empirical experience from five open source projects that use inheritance for mocking. We evaluate our approach on nine other projects. Results show that our framework is efficient, generally applicable to new datasets, mostly preserves test case behaviors in detecting defects (in the form of mutants), and decouples test code from production code. The qualitative evaluation by experienced developers suggests that the auto-refactoring solutions generated by our framework improve the quality of the unit test cases in various aspects, such as making test conditions more explicit, as well as improved cohesion, readability, understandability, and maintainability with test cases. Finally, we submit 23 pull requests containing our refactoring solutions to the open-source projects. It turns out that, 9 requests are accepted/merged, 6 requests are rejected, the remaining requests are pending (5 requests), with unexpected exceptions (2 requests), or undecided (1 request). In particular, among the 21 open source developers that are involved in the reviewing process, 81% give positive votes. This indicates that our refactoring solutions are quite well received by the open-source projects and developers.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1909763
NSF-PAR ID:
10463588
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
IEEE transactions on software engineering
Volume:
49
Issue:
4
ISSN:
0098-5589
Page Range / eLocation ID:
2791 - 2814
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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