An Approach to Compile Configurable Systems with #ifdefs Based on Impact Analysis
Configurable systems typically use #ifdefs to denote variability. Generating and compiling all configurations may be time-consuming. An alternative consists of using variability-aware parsers, such as TypeChef. However, they may not scale. We propose a change-centric approach to compile configurable systems with #ifdefs by analyzing only configurations impacted by a code change. We implemented it in a tool called CHECKCONFIGMX. We perform an empirical study to evaluate 3,913 transformations applied to the 14 largest files of BusyBox, Apache HTTPD, and Expat configurable systems. CHECKCONFIGMX finds 595 compilation errors of 20 types introduced by 41 developers in 214 commits (5.46% of the analyzed transformations). In our study, it reduces by at least 50% (an average of 99%) the effort of evaluating the analyzed transformations by comparing with the exhaustive approach without considering a feature model.