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Pointcut Change Prediction

Pointcut fragility is a well-documented problem in Aspect-Oriented Programming; changes to the base-code can lead to join points incorrectly falling in or out of the scope of pointcuts. Deciding which pointcuts have broken because of changes made to the base-code is a daunting task, especially in large and complex systems. This project represents an automated approach that recommends a set of pointcuts that are likely to require modification due to a particular change in the base-code. Our hypothesis is that join points captured by a pointcut exhibit a varying degree of common structural characteristics on multiple levels. We use patterns describing such commonality to recommend pointcuts that have potentially broken to the developer, as well as point the developer in a direction in which the pointcut should be altered. We implemented our approach as an extension to the popular Mylyn Eclipse IDE plugin, which maintains focused contexts of entities relevant to the current task. We show that this approach is useful in revealing broken pointcuts by applying it to multiple versions of several open source projects and evaluating the accuracy of the recommendations produced against actual modifications made on these systems.