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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Structural comparison of source code between multiple programming languages Biehn, Rolf


Software developers are often faced with the task of comparing two or more versions of software. Typical usages of software comparison utilities include: a code-review prior to checkin, tracking down a recently introduced regression, and searching for code-clones in the source code (for future refactoring). However, most traditional source code comparison tools typically use simple text-to-text comparison (with some simple rule-based comparisons for comments), which has the drawback of showing superfluous differences during comparison. Many projects, for a variety of business reasons, ship products and software development kits (SDKs) using multiple programing languages. It is desirable to compare amongst languages in order to detect potential errors and understand the meaningful differences between the two codebases. In some cases, fixes may be implemented in one language, but not in the other. In this paper, we create a tool called the Software Difference Analyzer Tool (SDAT), a tool capable of comparing Java and CSharp code, to address some of the unique problems associated with cross-language comparison. Automated testing demonstrated SDAT reduces the number of reported differences by up to 40%. User testing has shown a 37% increase in speed and 28% increase in accuracy.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada