Conflict Resolution for Structured Merge via Version Space Algebra

Abstract

Resolving conflicts is the main challenge for software merging. The existing merge tools usually rely on the developer to manually resolve conflicts. This is of course inefficient. We propose an interactive approach for resolving merge conflicts. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt for conflict resolution of structured merge. To represent the possibly very large set of candidate programs, we propose an expressive and efficient representation by version space algebra. We also design a simple mechanism for ranking resolutions in the program space, such that the top-ranked resolution is very likely to meet the developer’s expectation. We prototype our approach as a merge tool AutoMerge, and evaluate it on 244 real-world conflicts arising from 10 open-source projects. Results show great practicality of our approach.

Publication
Proc. ACM Program. Lang. 2, OOPSLA