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Automated Refactoring of Legacy Java Software to Enumerated Types



Modern Java languages introduce several new features that offer significant improvements over older Java technology. In this project, we consider the new enum construct, which provides language support for enumerated types. Prior to recent Java languages, programmers needed to employ various patterns (e.g., the weak enum pattern) to compensate for the absence of enumerated types in Java. Unfortunately, these compensation patterns lack several highly-desirable properties of the enum construct, most notably, type safety. We present a novel fully-automated approach for transforming legacy Java code to use the new enumeration construct. This semantics-preserving approach increases type safety, produces code that is easier to comprehend, removes unnecessary complexity, and eliminates brittleness problems due to separate compilation. At the core of the proposed approach is an interprocedural type inference algorithm that tracks the flow of enumerated values. The algorithm was implemented as an open-source, publicly available Eclipse plug-in and evaluated experimentally on 17 large Java benchmarks. Our results indicate that analysis cost is practical and the algorithm can successfully refactor a substantial number of fields to enumerated types. This work is a significant step towards providing automated tool support for migrating legacy Java software to modern Java technologies.


Name Affiliation Email
Raffi Khatchadourian Hunter College, City University of New York raffi.khatchadourian@hunter.cuny.edu
Jason Sawin University of St. Thomas jason.sawin@stthomas.edu
Atanas Rountev Ohio State University rountev@cse.ohio-state.edu
Benjamin Muskalla Tasktop Technologies benjamin.muskalla@tasktop.com


My and my research students‘ names appear in boldface. Undergraduate students appear in italics.

Raffi Khatchadourian. Automated refactoring of legacy Java software to enumerated types. Automated Software Engineering, 24(4):757–787, December 2017. [ bib | DOI | http ]

Raffi Khatchadourian and Benjamin Muskalla. Enumeration refactoring: A tool for automatically converting Java constants to enumerated types. In International Conference on Automated Software Engineering, ASE ’10, pages 181–182, New York, NY, USA, September 2010. IEEE/ACM. (18/45; 40% acceptance rate). [ bib | DOI | tool | slides | http ]

Raffi Khatchadourian, Jason Sawin, and Atanas Rountev. Automated refactoring of legacy Java software to enumerated types. In International Conference on Software Maintenance, ICSM 2007, pages 224–233. IEEE, October 2007. (46/214; 21% acceptance rate). [ bib | DOI | slides | http ]

Raffi Khatchadourian, Jason Sawin, and Atanas Rountev. Automated refactoring of legacy Java software to enumerated types. Technical Report OSU-CISRC-4/07-TR26, Ohio State University, April 2007. [ bib | .pdf ]

Research Prototype

Our research prototype may be found on GitHub.


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