Assessing Object-oriented Software Changeability with Design Metrics

H. Kabaili (Morocco), R.K. Keller (Switzerland), and F. Lustman (Canada)

Keywords

Objectoriented, changeability, impact analysis, metric.

Abstract

OO practitioners maintain that the architectural design of a system has an influence on its maintainability. However, no experimental work has confirmed or invalidated this assumption. In this paper, we explore the influence of design properties on a particular aspect of maintainability, namely, changeability. In order to assess the flexibility of a software program to accommodate changes, we have defined a change impact model for object-oriented systems. The impact, due to an atomic change, take into account classes impacted by the ripple effect and classes that need to be included in the regression testing . Then, we report on an experiment on two industrial systems to test the relationship between well-known coupling metrics and changeability. The results obtained were encouraging, particularly with regard to coupling as a predictor of changeability.

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