Michele Lanza

Michele Lanza
University of Lugano | USI · Faculty of Informatics

PhD

About

279
Publications
46,915
Reads
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9,826
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2004 - present
University of Lugano
Education
October 1999 - May 2003
Universität Bern
Field of study
  • Computer Science

Publications

Publications (279)
Article
Opinion mining, sometimes referred to as sentiment analysis, has gained increasing attention in software engineering (SE) studies. SE researchers have applied opinion mining techniques in various contexts, such as identifying developers’ emotions expressed in code comments and extracting users’ critics toward mobile apps. Given the large amount of...
Article
Refactoring aims at improving the maintainability of source code without modifying its external behavior. Previous works proposed approaches to recommend refactoring solutions to software developers. The generation of the recommended solutions is guided by metrics acting as proxy for maintainability (e.g., number of code smells removed by the recom...
Article
Refactoring operations are behavior-preserving changes aimed at improving source code quality. While refactoring is largely considered a good practice, refactoring proposals in pull requests are often rejected after the code review. Understanding the reasons behind the rejection of refactoring contributions can shed light on how such contributions...
Preprint
The city metaphor for visualizing software systems in 3D has been widely explored and has led to many diverse implementations and approaches. Common among all approaches is a focus on the software artifacts, while the aspects pertaining to the data and information (stored both in databases and files) used by a system are seldom taken into account....
Article
Full-text available
Most changes during software maintenance and evolution are not atomic changes, but rather the result of several related changes affecting different parts of the code. It may happen that developers omit needed changes, thus leaving a task partially unfinished, introducing technical debt or injecting bugs. We present a study investigating “ quick rem...
Preprint
Code completion is one of the killer features of Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), and researchers have proposed different methods to improve its accuracy. While these techniques are valuable to speed up code writing, they are limited to recommendations related to the next few tokens a developer is likely to type given the current context...
Preprint
Full-text available
The SZZ algorithm for identifying bug-inducing changes has been widely used to evaluate defect prediction techniques and to empirically investigate when, how, and by whom bugs are introduced. Over the years, researchers have proposed several heuristics to improve the SZZ accuracy, providing various implementations of SZZ. However, fairly evaluating...
Article
Full-text available
Android fragmentation is a well-known issue referring to the adoption of different versions in the multitude of devices supporting such an operating system. Each Android version features a set of APIs provided to developers. These APIs are subject to changes and may cause compatibility issues. To support app developers, approaches have been propose...
Preprint
Modern software is developed under considerable time pressure, which implies that developers more often than not have to resort to compromises when it comes to code that is well written and code that just does the job. This has led over the past decades to the concept of "technical debt", a short-term hack that potentially generates long-term maint...
Preprint
Full-text available
Software systems are continuously modified to implement new features, to fix bugs, and to improve quality attributes. Most of these activities are not atomic changes, but rather the result of several related changes affecting different parts of the code. For this reason, it may happen that developers omit some of the needed changes and, as a conseq...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Knowledge transfer is one of the main goals of modern code review, as shown by several studies that surveyed and interviewed developers. While knowledge transfer is a clear expectation of the code review process, there are no analytical studies using data mined from software repositories to assess the effectiveness of code review in "training" deve...
Article
Full-text available
Software visualization is a program comprehension technique used in the context of software maintenance, reverse engineering, and software evolution analysis. In the last decade, researchers have been exploring 3D representations for visualizing programs. Among these representations, one of the most popular is the city metaphor, which represents a...
Article
Background: Researchers have been exploring 3D representations for visualizing software. Among these representations, one of the most popular is the city metaphor, which represents a target object-oriented system as a virtual city. Recently, this metaphor has been also implemented in interactive software visualization tools that use virtual reality...
Article
Developers do not always have the knowledge needed to understand source code and must refer to different resources (e.g., teammates, documentation, the web). This non-trivial process, called program comprehension, is very time-consuming. While many approaches support the comprehension of a given code at hand, they are mostly focused on defining ext...
Conference Paper
Sentiment analysis has been applied to various software engineering (SE) tasks, such as evaluating app reviews or analyzing developers' emotions in commit messages. Studies indicate that sentiment analysis tools provide unreliable results when used out-of-the-box, since they are not designed to process SE datasets. The silver bullet for a successfu...
Article
Software development video tutorials have seen a steep increase in popularity in recent years. Their main advantage is that they thoroughly illustrate how certain technologies, programming languages, etc. are to be used. However, they come with a caveat: there is currently little support for searching and browsing their content. This makes it diffi...
Conference Paper
Code annotations are the core of the main APIs and frameworks for enterprise development, and are widely used on several applications. However, despite these APIs and frameworks made advanced uses of annotations, the language API for annotation reading is far from their needs. In particular, annotation reading is still a relatively complex task, th...
Article
Software repositories typically store data composed of structured and unstructured parts. Researchers mine this data to empirically validate research ideas and to support practitioners' activities. Structured data (e.g., source code) has a formal syntax and is straightforward to analyze; unstructured data (e.g., documentation) is a mix of natural l...
Conference Paper
Software development, like any prolonged and intellectually demanding activity, can negatively affect the motivation of developers. This is especially true in specific areas of software engineering, such as requirements engineering, test-driven development, bug reporting and fixing, where the creative aspects of programming fall short. The develope...
Article
If measured by the number of published papers, defect prediction has become an important research field over the past decade, with many researchers continuously proposing novel approaches to predict defects in software systems. However, most of these approaches have had a noticeable lack of impact on industrial practice. This lack of impact is beca...
Conference Paper
To ensure quality of software systems, developers use bug reports to track defects. It is in the interest of users and developers that bug reports provide the necessary information to ease the fixing process. Past research found that users do not provide the information that developers deem ideally useful to fix a bug. This raises an interesting qu...
Conference Paper
When knowledgeable colleagues are not available, developers resort to offline and online resources, e.g., tutorials, mailing lists, and Q&A websites. These, however, need to be found, read, and understood, which takes its toll in terms of time and mental energy. A more immediate and accessible resource are video tutorials found on the web, which in...
Conference Paper
Nowadays developers heavily rely on sources of informal documentation, including Q&A forums, slides, or video tutorials, the latter being particularly useful to provide introductory notions for a piece of technology. The current practice is that developers have to browse sources individually, which in the case of video tutorials is cumbersome, as t...
Conference Paper
While coding, developers construct and maintain mental models of software systems to support the task at hand. Although source code is the main product of software development, the process involves navigating and inspecting entities beyond the ones that are edited by the end of a task. Developers use various user interfaces (UI) offered by the Inte...
Article
Java is a safe language. Its runtime environment provides strong safety guarantees that any Java application can rely on. Or so we think. We show that the runtime actually does not provide these guarantees-for a large fraction of today's Java code. Unbeknownst to many application developers, the Java runtime includes a "backdoor" that allows expert...
Article
Developers often require knowledge beyond the one they possess, which boils down to asking co-workers for help or consulting additional sources of information, such as Application Programming Interfaces (API) documentation, forums, and Q&A websites. However, it requires time and energy to formulate one’s problem, peruse and process the results. We...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present ViDI (Visual Design Inspector), a novel code review tool which focuses on quality concerns and design inspection as its cornerstones. It leverages visualization techniques to represent the reviewed software and augments the visualization with the results of quality analysis tools. To effectively understand the contribution of a reviewer...
Conference Paper
Summarization is hailed as a promising approach to reduce the amount of information that must be taken in by the person who wants to understand development artifacts, such as pieces of code, bug reports, emails, etc. However, existing approaches treat artifacts as pure textual entities, disregarding the heterogeneous and partially structured nature...
Article
Understanding a problem domain is a fundamental prerequisite for good software design. In object-oriented systems design, modeling is the fundamental first phase that focuses on identifying core concepts and their relations. How to properly support modeling is still an open problem, and existing approaches and tools can be very different in nature....
Article
During software development, exceptions are by no means exceptional: Programmers repeatedly try and test their code to ensure that it works as expected. While doing so, runtime exceptions are raised, pointing out various issues, such as inappropriate usage of an API, convoluted code, as well as defects. Such failures result in stack traces, lists c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Modern software development sees code review as a crucial part of the process, because not only does it facilitate the sharing of knowledge about the system at hand, but it may also lead to the early detection of defects, ultimately improving the quality of the produced software. Although supported by numerous approaches and tools, code review is s...
Article
Developers write Object-Oriented programs using numerous tools that come as part of integrated development environments (IDEs). We focus on the tool based interfaces of a dynamic class-based language named Smalltalk. Smalltalk IDEs have remained the same for almost 30 years now, despite that they have been found to induce problems related to naviga...
Article
Full-text available
Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) have become the de facto standard vehicle to develop software systems. The user interface (UI) of an IDE offers a staggering amount of facilities to manipulate source code, such as inspectors, debuggers, recommenders, alternative viewers, etc. It is unclear how developers use the UI of an IDE and whether s...
Article
Developers often consult different sources of information like Application Programming Interfaces (API) documentation, forums, Q&A websites, etc. With the aim of gathering additional knowledge for the programming task at hand. The process of searching and identifying valuable pieces of information requires developers to spend time and energy in for...
Article
Technical questions and answers (Q&A) services have become a valuable resource for developers. A prominent example of technical Q&A website is StackOverflow (SO), which relies on a growing community of more than two millions of users who actively contribute by asking questions and providing answers. To maintain the value of this resource, poor qual...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
It is common knowledge that program comprehension takes up a substantial part of software development. This 'urban legend' is based on work that dates back decades, which throws up the question whether the advances in software development tools, techniques, and methodologies that have emerged since then may invalidate or confirm the claim. We prese...
Conference Paper
Most software engineering research focuses its analyses on source code, because correct, well designed, and efficient program code is the desired end output of software development. Nevertheless, source code is not the only constituent of software systems: Programs also comprise other types of artifacts, such as documentation, build system and conf...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Most development activities, like program understanding, source code navigation and editing, are supported by Integrated Development Environments (IDEs). They provide different tools and user interfaces (UI) to interact with the source code, such as browsers, debuggers, and inspectors. It is uncertain how and when programmers use different UI eleme...