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Assessing architectural evolution: a case study

Wermelinger, Michel; Yu, Yijun; Lozano, Angela and Capiluppi, Andrea (2011). Assessing architectural evolution: a case study. Empirical Software Engineering, 16(5) pp. 623–666.

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This paper proposes to use a historical perspective on generic laws, principles, and guidelines, like Lehman’s software evolution laws and Martin’s design principles, in order to achieve a multi-faceted process and structural assessment of a system’s architectural evolution. We present a simple structural model with associated historical metrics and visualizations that could form part of an architect’s dashboard.
We perform such an assessment for the Eclipse SDK, as a case study of a large, complex, and long-lived system for which sustained effective architectural evolution is paramount. The twofold aim of checking generic principles on a well-known system is, on the one hand, to see whether there are certain lessons that could be learned for best practice of architectural evolution, and on the other hand to get more insights about the applicability of such principles. We find that while the Eclipse SDK does follow several of the laws and principles, there are some deviations, and we discuss areas of architectural improvement and limitations of the assessment approach.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2011 Springer Science+Business Media (paper), 2011 The Open University (data and software)
ISSN: 1573-7616
Extra Information: The final version is available at the DOI given above. The zip file is the web companion mentioned in the paper.
Keywords: software architecture; software evolution; design principles; structured design; metrics; Eclipse IDE
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: 28753
Depositing User: Michel Wermelinger
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2011 12:27
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2019 06:15
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