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Quantifying the Stability of Software Systems via Simulation in Dependency Networks

Authors: Weifeng Pan


The stability of a software system is one of the most important quality attributes affecting the maintenance effort. Many techniques have been proposed to support the analysis of software stability at the architecture, file, and class level of software systems, but little effort has been made for that at the feature (i.e., method and attribute) level. And the assumptions the existing techniques based on always do not meet the practice to a certain degree. Considering that, in this paper, we present a novel metric, Stability of Software (SoS), to measure the stability of object-oriented software systems by software change propagation analysis using a simulation way in software dependency networks at feature level. The approach is evaluated by case studies on eight open source Java programs using different software structures (one employs design patterns versus one does not) for the same object-oriented program. The results of the case studies validate the effectiveness of the proposed metric. The approach has been fully automated by a tool written in Java.

Keywords: Software Maintenance, design pattern, Software stability, change propagation, object-oriented (OO) software

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