Value Partitioning: A Lightweight Approach to Relational Static Analysis for JavaScript

Benjamin Barslev Nielsen and Anders Møller

In static analysis of modern JavaScript libraries, relational analysis at key locations is critical to provide sound and useful results. Prior work addresses this challenge by the use of various forms of trace partitioning and syntactic patterns, which is fragile and does not scale well, or by incorporating a complex backwards analysis. In this paper, we propose a new lightweight variant of trace partitioning named value partitioning that refines individual abstract values instead of entire abstract states. We describe how this approach can effectively capture important relational properties involving dynamic property accesses, functions with free variables, and predicate functions. Furthermore, we extend an existing JavaScript analyzer with value partitioning and demonstrate experimentally that it is a simple, precise, and efficient alternative to the existing approaches for analyzing widely used JavaScript libraries.

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