IntelliTC: Automating Type Changes in IntelliJ IDEA

7 Dec 2021  ·  Oleg Smirnov, Ameya Ketkar, Timofey Bryksin, Nikolaos Tsantalis, Danny Dig ·

Developers often change types of program elements. Such refactoring often involves updating not only the type of the element itself, but also the API of all type-dependent references in the code, thus it is tedious and time-consuming. Despite type changes being more frequent than renamings, just a few current IDE tools provide partially-automated support only for a small set of hard-coded types. Researchers have recently proposed a data-driven approach to inferring API rewrite rules for type change patterns in Java using code commits history. In this paper, we build upon these recent advances and introduce IntelliTC - a tool to perform Java type change refactoring. We implemented it as a plugin for IntelliJ IDEA, a popular Java IDE developed by JetBrains. We present 3 different ways of providing support for such a refactoring from the standpoint of the user experience: Classic mode, Suggested Refactoring, and Inspection mode. To evaluate these modalities of using IntelliTC, we surveyed 22 experienced software developers. They positively rated the usefulness of the tool. The source code and distribution of the plugin are available on GitHub: A demonstration video is on YouTube:

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