APIGen: Generative API Method Recommendation


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Automatic API method recommendation is an essential task of code intelligence, which aims to suggest suitable APIs for programming queries. Existing approaches can be categorized into two primary groups: retrieval-based and learning-based approaches. Although these approaches have achieved remarkable success, they still come with notable limitations. The retrieval-based approaches rely on the text representation capabilities of embedding models, while the learning-based approaches require extensive task-specific labeled data for training. To mitigate the limitations, we propose APIGen, a generative API recommendation approach through enhanced in-context learning (ICL). APIGen involves two main components: (1) Diverse Examples Selection. APIGen searches for similar posts to the programming queries from the lexical, syntactical, and semantic perspectives, providing more informative examples for ICL. (2) Guided API Recommendation. APIGen enables large language models (LLMs) to perform reasoning before generating API recommendations, where the reasoning involves fine-grained matching between the task intent behind the queries and the factual knowledge of the APIs. With the reasoning process, APIGen makes recommended APIs better meet the programming requirement of queries and also enhances the interpretability of results. We compare APIGen with four existing approaches on two publicly available benchmarks. Experiments show that APIGen outperforms the best baseline CLEAR by 105.8 recommendation in terms of SuccessRate@1. Besides, APIGen achieves an average 49.87 GPT-4 in method-level API recommendation regarding the SuccessRate@3 metric.
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