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Time-Traveling Debugging Queries: Faster Program Exploration

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Abstract

Efficiently debugging a program requires program comprehension. To acquire it, developers explore the program execution, a task often performed using interactive debuggers. Unfortunately, exploring a program execution through standard interactive debuggers is a tedious and costly task. In this paper, we propose Time-Traveling Queries (TTQs) to ease program exploration. TTQs is a mechanism that automatically explores program executions to collect execution data. This data is used to time-travel through execution states, facilitating the exploration of program executions. We built a set of key TTQs based on typical questions developers ask when trying to understand programs. We conducted a user study with 34 participants to evaluate the impact of our queries on program comprehension activities. Results show that, compared to traditional debugging tools, TTQs significantly improve developers' precision, while reducing required time and efforts when performing program comprehension tasks.
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Dates and versions

hal-03463047 , version 1 (02-12-2021)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-03463047 , version 1

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Maximilian Willembrinck, Steven Costiou, Anne Etien, Stéphane Ducasse. Time-Traveling Debugging Queries: Faster Program Exploration. International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability, and Security, Dec 2021, Hainan Island, China. ⟨hal-03463047⟩
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