What is it about?

This article surveys 30 years of research on code search, giving a comprehensive overview of challenges and techniques that address them. We discuss the kinds of queries that code search engines support, how to preprocess and expand queries, different techniques for indexing and retrieving code, and ways to rank and prune search results. Finally, we describe empirical studies of code search in practice.

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Why is it important?

Our article enables readers to obtain an overview of the field, or to fill in gaps of their knowledge of the state-of-the-art. Based on our survey of past work, we conclude that code search has evolved into a mature research field, with solid results that have already made an impact on real-world software development. Despite all advances, many open challenges remain to be addressed in the future, and we hope our article will provide a useful starting point for addressing them.


Writing this article was an opportunity to provide an overview of this thriving research field and an outline of challenges to be addressed in the future by researchers with approaches that can help developers during their daily development routine.

Luca Di Grazia
Universitat Stuttgart

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Code Search: A Survey of Techniques for Finding Code, ACM Computing Surveys, October 2022, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), DOI: 10.1145/3565971.
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