Hidden Truths in Dead Software Paths
Approaches and techniques for statically finding a multitude of issues in source code have been developed in the past. A core property of these approaches is that they are usually targeted towards finding only a very specific kind of issue and that the effort to develop such an analysis is significant. This strictly limits the number of kinds of issues that can be detected. In this paper, we discuss a generic approach - based on the detection of infeasible paths in code - that can discover a wide range of code smells ranging from useless code that hinders comprehension to real bugs. The issues are identified by computing the difference between the control-flow graph that contains all technically possible edges and the corresponding graph recorded while performing a more precise analysis using abstract interpretation. The approach was evaluated using the Java Development Kit as well as the Qualitas Corpus (a collection of over 100 Java Applications) and enabled us to find thousands of issues.
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