RefactorInsight: Enhancing IDE Representation of Changes in Git with Refactorings Information

Zarina Kurbatova, Vladimir Kovalenko, Ioana Savu, Bob Brockbernd, Dan Andreescu, Matei Anton, Roman Venediktov, Elena Tikhomirova, and Timofey Bryksin

November, 2021. Published in the proceedings of ASE'21 (A*).

Abstract. Inspection of code changes is a time-consuming task that constitutes a big part of everyday work of software engineers. Existing IDEs provide little information about the semantics of code changes within the file editor view. Therefore developers have to track changes across multiple files, which is a hard task with large codebases.

In this paper, we present RefactorInsight, a plugin for IntelliJ IDEA that introduces a smart diff for code changes in Java and Kotlin where refactorings are auto-folded and provided with their description, thus allowing users to focus on changes that modify the code behavior like bug fixes and new features. RefactorInsight supports three usage scenarios: viewing smart diffs with auto-folded refactorings and hints, inspecting refactorings in pull requests and in any specific commit in the project change history, and exploring the refactoring history of methods and classes. The evaluation shows that commit processing time is acceptable: on median it is less than 0.2 seconds, which delay does not disrupt developers' IDE workflows.

RefactorInsight is available at The demonstration video is available at

DOI Pre-print Tool Video