Relationship Between the Effectiveness of Spectrum-Based Fault Localization and Bug-fix Types in JavaScript Programs

Béla Vancsics, Attila Szatmári and Árpád Beszédes
Spectrum-Based Fault Localization (SBFL) is a well-understood statistical approach to software fault localization, and there have been numerous studies performed that tackle its effectiveness. However, mostly Java and C/C++ programs have been addressed to date. We performed an empirical study on SBFL for JavaScript programs using a recent bug benchmark, BugsJS. In particular, we examined (1) how well some of the most popular SBFL algorithms, Tarantula, Ochiai and DStar, can predict the faulty source code elements in these JavaScript programs, (2) whether there is a significant difference between the effectiveness of the different SBFL algorithms, and (3) whether there is any relationship between the bug-fix types and the performance of SBFL methods. For the latter, we performed a manual classification of each benchmark bug according to an existing classification scheme. Results show that the performance of the SBFL algorithms is similar but there are some notable differences among them as well, and that certain bug-fix types can be significantly differentiated from the others (in both positive and negative direction) based on the fault localization effectiveness of the investigated algorithms.

Keywords: Spectrum-Based Fault Localization, JavaScript,bug classification, testing and debugging.