Refactoring Support for Class Library Migration

As object-oriented class libraries evolve, classes are occasionally deprecated in favor of others with roughly the same functionality. In Java's standard libraries, for example, class Hashtable has been superseded by HashMap, and Iterator is now preferred over Enumeration. Migrating client applications to use the new idioms is often desirable, but making the required changes to declarations and allocation sites can be quite labor-intensive. Moreover, migration becomes complicated -- and sometimes impossible --if an application interacts with external components, if a legacy class is not completely equivalent to its replacement, or if multiple interdependent classes must be migrated simultaneously. We present an approach in which mappings between legacy classes and their replacements are specified by the programmer. Then, an analysis based on type constraints determines where declarations and allocation sites can be updated. The method was implemented in Eclipse, and evaluated on a number of Java applications. On average, our tool could migrate more than 90% of the references to legacy classes.

By: Ittai Balaban; Frank Tip; Robert Fuhrer

Published in: RC23654 in 2005


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