Triaging Checklists: a Substitute for a PhD in Static Analysis

TitleTriaging Checklists: a Substitute for a PhD in Static Analysis
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsPhang KY, Foster JS, Hicks MW, Sazawal V
JournalEvaluation and Usability of Programming Languages and Tools (PLATEAU) PLATEAU 2009
Date Published2009///

Static analysis tools have achieved great success in recentyears in automating the process of detecting defects in soft-
ware. However, these sophisticated tools have yet to gain
widespread adoption, since many of these tools remain too
difficult to understand and use. In previous work, we dis-
covered that even with an effective code visualization tool,
users still found it hard to determine if warnings reported
by these tools were true errors or false warnings. The fun-
damental problem users face is to understand enough of the
underlying algorithm to determine if a warning is caused by
imprecision in the algorithm, a challenge that even experts
with PhDs may take a while to achieve. In our current work,
we propose to use triaging checklists to provide users with
systematic guidance to identify false warnings by taking into
account specific sources of imprecision in the particular tool.
Additionally, we plan to provide checklist assistants, which
is a library of simple analyses designed to aid users in an-
swering checklist questions.