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Software evolution: background, theory and practice

Lehman, Meir M. and Ramil, Juan F. (2003). Software evolution: background, theory and practice. Information Processing Letters, 88(1-2) pp. 33–44.

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This paper opens with a brief summary of some 30 years of study of the software evolution phenomenon. The results of those studies include the SPE program classification, a principle of software uncertainty and laws of E-type software evolution. The laws were termed so because they encapsulate phenomena largely independent of the people, the organisations and the domains involved in the evolution of the E-type systems studied. Recent studies have refined earlier conclusions, yielded practical guidelines for software evolution management and provide a basis for the formation of a theory of software evolution. Given the volume of published material and the extent of recent discussions on the topic (see, e.g., [Proc. ICSM, Montreal, 2002, p. 66]), this paper is restricted to an overview that exposes the significance of the evolution phenomenon and its study to the wider community, providing a basis for the future and, in particular, development of a theory of software evolution.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 0020-0190
Keywords: Software engineering; Software design and implementation; Safety/security in digital systems; Software evolution; Theory of software evolution; Laws of software evolution; Software uncertainty principle; Software process; Best practice; Assumptions; Maintenance
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Computing (CRC)
Item ID: 2267
Depositing User: Juan Fernandez-Ramil
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 08:51
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