Managing Hidden Dependencies in OO Software: a Study Based on Open Source Projects

Nemitari Ajienka, Andrea Capiluppi, Steve Counsell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding (ISBN)

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Abstract

Dependency-based software change impact analysis is the domain concerned with estimating the sets of artifacts impacted by a change to a related artifact. Research has shown that analysing the various class dependency types independently will never completely reveal the impact sets. Therefore, dependency types are combined to improve the precision of estimated when compared to impact sets. Software classes can be linked in different ways; for instance semantically, if their meaning is somewhat related or, structurally, if one class depends on the services of other classes. ‘Hidden’ dependencies arise when two classes, linked structurally, do not share the same semantic namespace or when semantically dependent classes do not share a structural link. With the goal of revealing hidden dependencies during change impact analysis, we empirically investigated the relationship between structural and semantic class dependencies in objectoriented software systems. Results show that (i) semantic and structural links are significantly associated, (ii) the strengths of those links do not play a significant role and, (iii) a significant number of dependencies are hidden. We propose two refactoring techniques to deal with hidden dependencies, based on existing design patterns. We plan to investigate them further to assert whether either has the potential for reducing refactoring and testing effort.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNot Known
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Jun 2017
EventACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM) - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 9 Nov 201710 Nov 2017

Conference

ConferenceACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM)
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period9/11/1710/11/17

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    Ajienka, N., Capiluppi, A., & Counsell, S. (Accepted/In press). Managing Hidden Dependencies in OO Software: a Study Based on Open Source Projects. In Not Known