DeepAI AI Chat
Log In Sign Up

Characterising the Knowledge about Primitive Variables in Java Code Comments

by   Mahfouth Alghamdi, et al.

Primitive types are fundamental components available in any programming language, which serve as the building blocks of data manipulation. Understanding the role of these types in source code is essential to write software. Little work has been conducted on how often these variables are documented in code comments and what types of knowledge the comments provide about variables of primitive types. In this paper, we present an approach for detecting primitive variables and their description in comments using lexical matching and advanced matching. We evaluate our approaches by comparing the lexical and advanced matching performance in terms of recall, precision, and F-score, against 600 manually annotated variables from a sample of GitHub projects. The performance of our advanced approach based on F-score was superior compared to lexical matching, 0.986 and 0.942, respectively. We then create a taxonomy of the types of knowledge contained in these comments about variables of primitive types. Our study showed that developers usually documented the variables' identifiers of a numeric data type with their purpose (69.16 type String which were less documented with purpose (61.14 concept (55.46 of documenting primitive variables and point at areas that are often not well documented, such as the meaning of boolean variables or the purpose of fields and local variables.


How to Identify Class Comment Types? A Multi-language Approach for Class Comment Classification

Most software maintenance and evolution tasks require developers to unde...

Comments on Comments: Where Code Review and Documentation Meet

A central function of code review is to increase understanding; helping ...

How Do Programmers Express High-Level Concepts using Primitive Data Types?

We investigated how programmers express high-level concepts such as path...

Source Code Comments: Overlooked in the Realm of Code Clone Detection

Reusing code can produce duplicate or near-duplicate code clones in code...

Executable Trigger-Action Comments

Natural language elements, e.g., todo comments, are frequently used to c...

18 Million Links in Commit Messages: Purpose, Evolution, and Decay

Commit messages contain diverse and valuable types of knowledge in all a...