* ICSE 2018 *
Sun 27 May - Sun 3 June 2018 Gothenburg, Sweden
Fri 1 Jun 2018 10:00 - 10:20 at G1 room - Program Analysis II Chair(s): Christine Julien

It is a common practice for client-side web applications to build on various third-party JavaScript libraries. Due to the lack of namespaces in JavaScript, these libraries all share the same global namespace. As a result, one library may inadvertently modify or even delete the APIs of another library, causing unexpected behavior of library clients. Given the quickly increasing number of libraries, manually keeping track of such conflicts is practically impossible both for library developers and users. This paper presents ConflictJS, an automated and scalable approach to analyze libraries for conflicts. The key idea is to tackle the huge search space of possible conflicts in two phases. At first, a dynamic analysis of individual libraries identifies pairs of potentially conflicting libraries. Then, targeted test synthesis validates potential conflicts by creating a client application that suffers from a conflict. The overall approach is free of false positives, in the sense that it reports a problem only when such a client exists. We use ConflictJS to analyze and study conflicts among 951 real-world libraries. The results show that one out of four libraries is potentially conflicting and that 166 libraries are involved in at least one certain conflict. The detected conflicts cause crashes and other kinds of unexpected behavior. Our work helps library developers to prevent conflicts, library users to avoid combining conflicting libraries, and provides evidence that designing a language without explicit namespaces has undesirable effects.

Slides (ConflictJS_slides.pdf)201KiB