Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-30-2017


Enabling interfaces to declare (instance) method implementations, Java 8 default methods can be used as a substitute for the ubiquitous skeletal implementation software design pattern. Performing this transformation on legacy software manually, though, may be non-trivial. The refactoring requires analyzing complex type hierarchies, resolving multiple implementation inheritance issues, reconciling differences between class and interface methods, and analyzing tie-breakers (dispatch precedence) with overriding class methods. All of this is necessary to preserve type-correctness and confirm semantics preservation. We demonstrate an automated refactoring tool called Migrate Skeletal Implementation to Interface for transforming legacy Java code to use the new default construct. The tool, implemented as an Eclipse plug-in, is driven by an efficient, fully-automated, type constraint-based refactoring approach. It features an extensive rule set covering various corner-cases where default methods cannot be used. The resulting code is semantically equivalent to the original, more succinct, easier to comprehend, less complex, and exhibits increased modularity. A demonstration can be found at


Raffi Khatchadourian and Hidehiko Masuhara. Defaultification refactoring: A tool for automatically converting Java methods to default. In International Conference on Automated Software Engineering, ASE ’17. ACM/IEEE, October 2017.



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