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A Quantitative Investigation of the Acceptable Risk Levels of Object-Oriented Metrics in Open-Source Systems

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1 Author(s)
Shatnawi, R. ; Software Eng. Dept., Jordan Univ. of Sci. & Technol., Irbid, Jordan

Object-oriented metrics have been validated empirically as measures of design complexity. These metrics can be used to mitigate potential problems in the software complexity. However, there are few studies that were conducted to formulate the guidelines, represented as threshold values, to interpret the complexity of the software design using metrics. Classes can be clustered into low and high risk levels using threshold values. In this paper, we use a statistical model, derived from the logistic regression, to identify threshold values for the Chidamber and Kemerer (CK) metrics. The methodology is validated empirically on a large open-source system-the Eclipse project. The empirical results indicate that the CK metrics have threshold effects at various risk levels. We have validated the use of these thresholds on the next release of the Eclipse project-Version 2.1-using decision trees. In addition, the selected threshold values were more accurate than those were selected based on either intuitive perspectives or on data distribution parameters. Furthermore, the proposed model can be exploited to find the risk level for an arbitrary threshold value. These findings suggest that there is a relationship between risk levels and object-oriented metrics and that risk levels can be used to identify threshold effects.

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Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 2 )