Understanding Developers' Needs on Deprecation as a Language Feature

Anand Ashok Sawant, Maurício Aniche, Arie van Deursen, Alberto Bacchelli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Deprecation is a language feature that allows API producers to mark a feature as obsolete. We aim to gain a deep understanding of the needs of API producers and consumers alike regarding deprecation. To that end, we investigate why API producers deprecate features, whether they remove deprecated features, how they expect consumers to react, and what prompts an API consumer to react to deprecation. To achieve this goal we conduct semi-structured interviews with 17 third-party Java API producers and survey 170 Java developers. We observe that the current deprecation mechanism in Java and the proposal to enhance it does not address all the needs of a developer. This leads us to propose and evaluate three further enhancements to the deprecation mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICSE' 18 Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computer Machinery
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5638-1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventICSE 2018: 40th International Conference on Software Engineering - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 27 May 20183 Jun 2018
Conference number: 40


ConferenceICSE 2018
Internet address


  • API
  • deprecation
  • Java


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