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To produce high quality object-oriented (OO) applications, a strong emphasis on design aspects, especially during the early phases of software development, is necessary. Design metrics play an important role in helping developers understand design aspects of software and, hence, improve software quality and developer productivity. In this paper, we provide empirical evidence supporting the role of OO design complexity metrics, specifically a subset of the Chidamber and Kemerer (1991, 1994) suite (CK metrics), in determining software defects. Our results, based on industry data from software developed in two popular programming languages used in OO development, indicate that, even after controlling for the size of the software, these metrics are significantly associated with defects. In addition, we find that the effects of these metrics on defects vary across the samples from two programming languages-C++ and Java. We believe that these results have significant implications for designing high-quality software products using the OO approach.
Date of Publication: April 2003