Checking Metadata Usage for Enterprise Applications

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Virginia Tech


It is becoming more and more common for developers to build enterprise applications on Spring framework or other other Java frameworks. While the developers are enjoying the convenient implementations of web frameworks, developers should pay attention to con- figuration deployment with metadata usage (i.e., Java annotations and XML deployment descriptors). Different formats of metadata can correspond to each other. Metadata usually exist in multiple files. Maintaining such metadata is challenging and time-consuming. Cur- rent compilers and research tools rarely inspect the XML files, not to say the corresponding relationship between Java annotations and XML files. To help developers ensure the quality of metadata, this work presents a Domain Specific Language, RSL, and its engine, MeEditor. RSL facilitates pattern definition for correct metadata usage. MeEditor can take in specified rules and check Java projects for any rule violations.

Developer can define rules with RSL considering the metadata usage. Then, developers can run RSL script with MeEditor. 9 rules were extracted from Spring specification and are written in RSL. To evaluate the effectiveness and correctness of MeEditor, we mined 180 plus 500 open-source projects from Github. To evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of MeEditor, we conducted our evaluation by taking two steps. First, we evaluated the effec- tiveness of MeEditor by constructing a know ground truth data set. Based on experiments of ground truth data set, MeEditor can identified the metadata misuse. MeEditor detected bug with 94% precision, 94% recall, 94% accuracy. Second, we evaluate the usefulness of MeEditor by applying it to real world projects (total 500 projects). For the latest version of these 500 projects, MeEditor gave 79% precision according to our manual inspection. Then, we applied MeEditor to the version histories of rule-adopted projects, which adopt the rule and is identified as correct project for latest version. MeEditor identified 23 bugs, which later fixed by developers.



Software, Domain Specific Language, XML, Annotation, Spring