Assessing Object-oriented Software Changeability with Design Metrics

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


Object-oriented, changeability, impact analysis, metric.


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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