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Drag-and-Drop Refactoring: Intuitive Program Transformation

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Title: Drag-and-Drop Refactoring: Intuitive Program Transformation
Author(s): Lee, Yun Young; Chen, Nicholas; Johnson, Ralph E.
Subject(s): Software Refactoring Restructuring Drag-and-Drop
Abstract: Refactoring is a disciplined technique for restructuring code to improve its readability and maintainability. Almost all popular integrated development environments (IDEs), such as Eclipse, Visual Studio, and Xcode, have built-in support for semi-automated refactorings. Proponents tout that semi-automated refactorings reduce the burden of refactoring by hand. However, recent research suggests that these semi-automated refactorings are greatly underused. We argue that the current semi-automated refactoring tools are complex to use, which could be one of the causes of their underuse. In this paper, we present a novel approach that reduces this complexity by streamlining the invocation and configuration process through drag-and-drop of program elements. We implemented this approach in our tool, \emph{Drag-and-Drop Refactoring} (DNDRefactoring). Currently, DNDRefactoring supports 12 of 23 refactorings in the Eclipse IDE. Empirical evaluation through surveys (69 results) and controlled user studies (11 participants) demonstrates that DNDRefactoring is intuitive and also reduces the programming effort compared to traditional methods such as menus and keyboard shortcuts.
Issue Date: 2012-03
Genre: Conference Paper / Presentation
Type: TextVideo
Language: English
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed: not peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-03-14

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