Hi Raoul

As you rightly point out it is not easy to identify a link between software faults and identifier naming problems. Some have tried. See, for example,

Arnaoudova et al. Physical and Conceptual Identifier Dispersion: Measures and Relation to Fault Proneness. In Proc. of the Int'l Conf. on Software Maintenance - ERA Track, pages 1-5, 2010. IEEE Computer Society.

or our own work http://oro.open.ac.uk/view/person/sjb792.html

Other research you might want to look at includes the link between poor identifier naming and program comprehension problems, which Brad Myers identifies elsewhere in this thread. As well as issues of overly long names and esoteric typography, concerns have been expressed about the semantic content of identifier names. Deissenboeck and Pizka Concise and Consistent Naming Software Quality Journal, 2006, 14, 261-282 is probably the best known source.

Einar Host's work on the connection between Java identifier method names and method functionality may also be of interest to you. The connection is strong enough for the functionality of methods to be used as an input to name refactoring. (Høst, E. W. & Østvold, B. M. Debugging Method Names Proc. of the 23rd European Conf. on Object-Oriented Programming, Springer-Verlag, 2009, 294-317).


On 03/26/2012 11:08 PM, Raoul Duke wrote:

Check out my paper from PPIG 2006:

Thanks, I just skimmed it. I probably haven't explained well at all
what I had in mind. I searched for "bug" and "error" with no hits. It
so far appears to me to be a review of how naming is used; doesn't get
into the resulting impacts of those uses and choices.

Now that I think about it, I guess the sort of thing I have in mind
is: has anybody somehow managed to study a bug database and the fixes
and figure out %ages of what caused the bugs, and if it is possible to
figure out that naming was a problem, how much was due to problems
with naming? I guess it would be quite hard to tease it out.

Presumably naming hasn't caused Arianne to crash or anything like that
(http://www.sans.org/top25-software-errors/) so I'm really probably
only ranting about my own little pet peeve. Apologies.


Simon Butler
email: si...@facetus.org.uk

"No set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which
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