HAnS: IDE-based editing support for embedded feature annotations
Paper in proceeding, 2021

When developers maintain or evolve software, they often need to know the locations of features. This proves challenging when the feature locations are not documented, when the code was written by different developers who may have left the organization, or when the developer's memory of the implementation has faded. Automated feature location techniques are hard to adopt in practice, especially since they boast too many false positives. To address these challenges, embedded feature annotations have been proposed to allow developers to trace features in code during development with minimal effort. However, tool support is needed for developers to effectively record and use these annotations. We propose HAnS as a tool to meet this need; it is implemented as an IntelliJ IDE plugin to support developers seamlessly record feature locations while they write their code. HAnS supports developers when mapping features to software assets, such as files and code fragments, with code completion and syntax highlighting. It also provides functionality to browse feature definitions and locations, as well as refactor features. A demo video is available at https://youtu.be/cx_-ZshHLgA.

feature location

embedded feature annotations


tool support


Johan Martinson

Student at Chalmers

Herman Jansson

Student at Chalmers

Mukelabai Mukelabai

University of Gothenburg

Thorsten Berger

University of Gothenburg

Alexandre Bergel

University of Chile (UCH)

Truong Ho-Quang

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

ACM International Conference Proceeding Series

Vol. Part F171625-B 28-31
9781450384704 (ISBN)

25th ACM International Systems and Software Product Line Conference, SPLC 2021
Virtual, Online, United Kingdom,

Subject Categories

Software Engineering

Embedded Systems

Computer Systems



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