Spoon provides a way to declaratively specify a code snippet to match, this is called a TemplateMatcher. For instance, the following snippet matches any if statement parametrized with a collection expression:

if (_col_.S().size() > 10)
  throw new IndexOutOfBoundsException();

It would match the following code elements:

// c is a local variable, a method parameter or a field;
if (c.size() > 10)
  throw new IndexOutOfBoundsException();
//foo() returns a collection
if (foo().size() > 10)
  throw new IndexOutOfBoundsException();

To define a template matcher one must:

  1. specify the “holes” of the template matcher
  2. write the matcher in a dedicated method
  3. instantiate TemplateMatcher and call method find or use it as Filter of a query.

Taking again the same example.

public class CheckBoundMatcher {
  // Step 1:
  public TemplateParameter<Collection<?>> _col_;
  // Step 2
  public void matcher1() {
    if (_col_.S().size() > 10)
      throw new IndexOutOfBoundsException();

// Step 3, for instance in a main
// where to find the matching specification
CtClass<?> templateKlass = factory.Class().get(CheckBoundMatcher.class);
CtIf templateRoot = (CtIf) ((CtMethod) templateKlass.getElements(new NameFilter("matcher1")).get(0)).getBody().getStatement(0);
TemplateMatcher matcher = new TemplateMatcher(templateRoot);
for (CtElement elems : matcher.find(aPackage)) { ... };
//or TemplateMatcher as a Filter of query
aPackage.filterChildren(matcher).forEach((CtElement elem)->{ ... });

For named elements, a wildcard can be specified: if the named element (e.g., a method) to be matched is called f and the template matcher class contains a template parameter called f (of type Object), all methods starting by f will be matched.

Note, the matching process ignores some information in the AST nodes: comments; position; implicitness and casts. See roleToSkippedClass in class ElementNode