The presence of source code that is no longer needed is a handicap to project maintainability. The larger and longer-lived the project, the higher the chances of accumulating dead code in its different forms.
Manually detecting unused code is time-consuming, tedious, error-prone, and requires a great level of deep knowledge about the codebase. In this paper, we examine the kinds of dead code (specifically, oxbow code) that can appear in Erlang projects, and formulate rules to identify them with high accuracy.
We also present an open-source static analyzer that implements these rules, allowing for the automatic detection and confident removal of oxbow code in Erlang codebases, actively contributing to increasing their quality and maintainability.
I’ve not heard of the term “Oxbow code” before now. It’s an excellent metaphor.