Challenges with Responding to Static Analysis Tool Alerts

Nasif Imtiaz, Akond Rahman, Effat Farhana, and Laurie Williams in International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR), 2019 Pre-print

Static analysis tool alerts can help developers detect potential defects in the code early in the development cycle. However, developers are not always able to respond to the alerts with their preferred action and may turn away from using the tool. In this paper, we qualitatively analyze 280 Stack Overflow (SO) questions regarding static analysis tool alerts to identify the challenges developers face in understanding and responding to these alerts. We find that the most prevalent question on SO is how to ignore and filter alerts, followed by validation of false positives. Our findings confirm prior researchers’ findings related to notification communication theory as 44.6% of the SO questions that we analyzed indicate developers face communication challenges.