Empirical evidence on the link between object-oriented measures and external quality attributes: A systematic literature review

Ronald Jabangwe*, Jürgen Börstler, Darja Šmite, Claes Wohlin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

Abstract

There is a plethora of studies investigating object-oriented measures and their link with external quality attributes, but usefulness of the measures may differ across empirical studies. This study aims to aggregate and identify useful object-oriented measures, specifically those obtainable from the source code of object-oriented systems that have gone through such empirical evaluation. By conducting a systematic literature review, 99 primary studies were identified and traced to four external quality attributes: reliability, maintainability, effectiveness and functionality. A vote-counting approach was used to investigate the link between object-oriented measures and the attributes, and to also assess the consistency of the relation reported across empirical studies. Most of the studies investigate links between object-oriented measures and proxies for reliability attributes, followed by proxies for maintainability. The least investigated attributes were: effectiveness and functionality. Measures from the C&K measurement suite were the most popular across studies. Votecounting results suggest that complexity, cohesion, size and coupling measures have a better link with reliability and maintainability than inheritance measures. However, inheritance measures should not be overlooked during quality assessment initiatives; their link with reliability and maintainability could be context dependent. There were too few studies traced to effectiveness and functionality attributes; thus a meaningful vote-counting analysis could not be conducted for these attributes. Thus, there is a need for diversification of quality attributes investigated in empirical studies. This would help with identifying useful measures during quality assessment initiatives, and not just for reliability and maintainability aspects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmpirical Software Engineering
Volume20
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)640-693
Number of pages54
ISSN1382-3256
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1. Jun 2015

Fingerprint

Maintainability

Keywords

  • Object-oriented system
  • Software metrics
  • Software quality
  • Source code analysis
  • Source code measures
  • Static analysis
  • Systematic literature review

Cite this

@article{0dd5a01408834bbc9d3993514f21f0c0,
title = "Empirical evidence on the link between object-oriented measures and external quality attributes: A systematic literature review",
abstract = "There is a plethora of studies investigating object-oriented measures and their link with external quality attributes, but usefulness of the measures may differ across empirical studies. This study aims to aggregate and identify useful object-oriented measures, specifically those obtainable from the source code of object-oriented systems that have gone through such empirical evaluation. By conducting a systematic literature review, 99 primary studies were identified and traced to four external quality attributes: reliability, maintainability, effectiveness and functionality. A vote-counting approach was used to investigate the link between object-oriented measures and the attributes, and to also assess the consistency of the relation reported across empirical studies. Most of the studies investigate links between object-oriented measures and proxies for reliability attributes, followed by proxies for maintainability. The least investigated attributes were: effectiveness and functionality. Measures from the C&K measurement suite were the most popular across studies. Votecounting results suggest that complexity, cohesion, size and coupling measures have a better link with reliability and maintainability than inheritance measures. However, inheritance measures should not be overlooked during quality assessment initiatives; their link with reliability and maintainability could be context dependent. There were too few studies traced to effectiveness and functionality attributes; thus a meaningful vote-counting analysis could not be conducted for these attributes. Thus, there is a need for diversification of quality attributes investigated in empirical studies. This would help with identifying useful measures during quality assessment initiatives, and not just for reliability and maintainability aspects.",
keywords = "Object-oriented system, Software metrics, Software quality, Source code analysis, Source code measures, Static analysis, Systematic literature review",
author = "Ronald Jabangwe and J{\"u}rgen B{\"o}rstler and Darja Šmite and Claes Wohlin",
year = "2015",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s10664-013-9291-7",
language = "English",
volume = "20",
pages = "640--693",
journal = "Empirical Software Engineering",
issn = "1382-3256",
publisher = "Springer",
number = "3",

}

Empirical evidence on the link between object-oriented measures and external quality attributes : A systematic literature review. / Jabangwe, Ronald; Börstler, Jürgen; Šmite, Darja; Wohlin, Claes.

In: Empirical Software Engineering, Vol. 20, No. 3, 01.06.2015, p. 640-693.

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Empirical evidence on the link between object-oriented measures and external quality attributes

T2 - A systematic literature review

AU - Jabangwe, Ronald

AU - Börstler, Jürgen

AU - Šmite, Darja

AU - Wohlin, Claes

PY - 2015/6/1

Y1 - 2015/6/1

N2 - There is a plethora of studies investigating object-oriented measures and their link with external quality attributes, but usefulness of the measures may differ across empirical studies. This study aims to aggregate and identify useful object-oriented measures, specifically those obtainable from the source code of object-oriented systems that have gone through such empirical evaluation. By conducting a systematic literature review, 99 primary studies were identified and traced to four external quality attributes: reliability, maintainability, effectiveness and functionality. A vote-counting approach was used to investigate the link between object-oriented measures and the attributes, and to also assess the consistency of the relation reported across empirical studies. Most of the studies investigate links between object-oriented measures and proxies for reliability attributes, followed by proxies for maintainability. The least investigated attributes were: effectiveness and functionality. Measures from the C&K measurement suite were the most popular across studies. Votecounting results suggest that complexity, cohesion, size and coupling measures have a better link with reliability and maintainability than inheritance measures. However, inheritance measures should not be overlooked during quality assessment initiatives; their link with reliability and maintainability could be context dependent. There were too few studies traced to effectiveness and functionality attributes; thus a meaningful vote-counting analysis could not be conducted for these attributes. Thus, there is a need for diversification of quality attributes investigated in empirical studies. This would help with identifying useful measures during quality assessment initiatives, and not just for reliability and maintainability aspects.

AB - There is a plethora of studies investigating object-oriented measures and their link with external quality attributes, but usefulness of the measures may differ across empirical studies. This study aims to aggregate and identify useful object-oriented measures, specifically those obtainable from the source code of object-oriented systems that have gone through such empirical evaluation. By conducting a systematic literature review, 99 primary studies were identified and traced to four external quality attributes: reliability, maintainability, effectiveness and functionality. A vote-counting approach was used to investigate the link between object-oriented measures and the attributes, and to also assess the consistency of the relation reported across empirical studies. Most of the studies investigate links between object-oriented measures and proxies for reliability attributes, followed by proxies for maintainability. The least investigated attributes were: effectiveness and functionality. Measures from the C&K measurement suite were the most popular across studies. Votecounting results suggest that complexity, cohesion, size and coupling measures have a better link with reliability and maintainability than inheritance measures. However, inheritance measures should not be overlooked during quality assessment initiatives; their link with reliability and maintainability could be context dependent. There were too few studies traced to effectiveness and functionality attributes; thus a meaningful vote-counting analysis could not be conducted for these attributes. Thus, there is a need for diversification of quality attributes investigated in empirical studies. This would help with identifying useful measures during quality assessment initiatives, and not just for reliability and maintainability aspects.

KW - Object-oriented system

KW - Software metrics

KW - Software quality

KW - Source code analysis

KW - Source code measures

KW - Static analysis

KW - Systematic literature review

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84974674561&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10664-013-9291-7

DO - 10.1007/s10664-013-9291-7

M3 - Review

AN - SCOPUS:84974674561

VL - 20

SP - 640

EP - 693

JO - Empirical Software Engineering

JF - Empirical Software Engineering

SN - 1382-3256

IS - 3

ER -