Towards a Model to Appraise and Suggest Identifier Names


Unknowingly, identifiers in the source code of a software system play a vital role in determining the quality of the system. Ambiguous and confusing identifier names lead developers to not only misunderstand the behavior of the code but also increases comprehension time and thereby causes a loss in productivity. Even though correcting poor names through rename operations is a viable option for solving this problem, renaming itself is an act of rework and is not immune to defect injection. In this study, we aim to understand the motivations that drive developers to name and rename identifiers and the decisions they make in determining the name. Using our results, we propose the development of a linguistic model that determines identifier names based on the behavior of the identifier. As a prerequisite to constructing the model, we conduct multiple studies to determine the features that should feed into the model. In this paper, we discuss findings from our completed studies and justify the continuation of research on this topic through further studies.

2019 IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME)