Supporting developers with natural language queries

Michael Würsch, Giacomo Ghezzi, Gerald Reif, Harald C. Gall
2010 Proceedings of the 32nd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering - ICSE '10  
The feature list of modern IDEs is growing steadily and mastering these tools becomes more and more demanding, especially for novice programmers. Despite their remarkable capabilities, IDEs often still cannot directly answer the questions that arise during program comprehension tasks. Instead developers have to map their questions to multiple concrete queries that can be answered only by combining several tools and examining the output of each of them manually to distill an appropriate answer.
more » ... xisting approaches have in common that they are either limited to a set of predefined, hardcoded questions, or that they require to learn a specific query language only suitable for that limited purpose. We present a framework to query for information about a software system using guided-input natural language resembling plain English. For that, we model data extracted by classical software analysis tools with an OWL ontology and use knowledge processing technologies from the Semantic Web to query it. We also present a case study that demonstrates how our framework can be used to answer queries about static source code information for program comprehension purposes. ABSTRACT The feature list of modern IDEs is steadily growing and mastering these tools becomes more and more demanding, especially for novice programmers. Despite their remarkable capabilities, IDEs often still cannot directly answer the questions that arise during program comprehension tasks. Instead developers have to map their questions to multiple concrete queries that can be answered only by combining several tools and examining the output of each of them manually to distill an appropriate answer. Existing approaches have in common that they are either limited to a set of predefined, hardcoded questions, or that they require to learn a specific query language only suitable for that limited purpose. We present a framework to query for information about a software system using guided-input natural language resembling plain English. For that, we model data extracted by classical software analysis tools with an OWL ontology and use knowledge processing technologies from the Semantic Web to query it. We use a case study to demonstrate how our framework can be used to answer queries about static source code information for program comprehension purposes.
doi:10.1145/1806799.1806827 dblp:conf/icse/WurschGRG10 fatcat:t5lmlso22zhp3o2uehtxlcdt6m