Identifying Versions of Libraries used in Stack Overflow Code Snippets

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

3 Citations (Scopus)


Stack Overflow is a popular question and answer platform where developers share technical issues in the hope of receiving answers with potential solutions. The latter may include code snippets making use of library versions that have long since been succeeded by newer ones. Other developers finding such a snippet at a later point in time may be unaware of its outdatedness unless mentioned in a comment. Furthermore, it can be difficult to integrate the snippet without knowing the exact version of the library it is referencing. In this paper, we propose an automated approach to identifying ranges of Maven library versions that might have been used in a Java snippet on Stack Overflow. We use a prototype implementation of the approach to assess the overall outdatedness of Stack Overflow snippets with respect to the latest version of each referenced library available from Maven. We found a considerable number of snippets that use outdated library versions, which suggests that developers should be careful when adopting solutions from Stack Overflow.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMining Software Repositories
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR 2021)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-8710-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-8710-5
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2021
Event18th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR2021) - Virtual
Duration: 17 May 202119 May 2021
Conference number: 18

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2021 IEEE/ACM 18th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR)


Conference18th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR2021)
Abbreviated titleMSR
Internet address


  • Stack Overflow
  • software libraries
  • software ecosystems

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