Context-Sensitive Cut, Copy, and Paste Inproceedings

Reid Kerr, Wolfgang Stuerzlinger

Abstract:

Creating and editing source code are tedious and error-prone processes. One important source of errors in editing programs is the failure to correctly adapt a block of copied code to a new context. This occurs because several dependencies to the surrounding code usually need to be adapted for the new context and it is easy to forget one of them. Conversely, this also makes such errors hard to find.This paper presents a new method for identifying some common types of errors in cut, copy and paste operations. The method analyzes the context of the original block of code and tries to match it with the context in the new location. It utilizes a simple, pattern-based model of context, which we found to be well suited to the analysis of relocated blocks of text. Furthermore, we discuss the ability of our technique to detect semantic errors. While semantic errors are relatively difficult to recognize in a static document, our new technique can infer important information from the original context to detect some semantic mismatches. Finally, we present a proof-of-concept implementation and discuss our simple user interface for context-sensitive cut, copy and paste.

Date of publication: May - 2008
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