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How multiple-dependency structure of classes affects their functions a statistical perspective

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4 Author(s)
Yutao Ma ; State Key Lab of Software Engineering, Wuhan University, 430072, China ; Keqing He ; Bing Li ; Xiaoyan Zhou

Networks have been considered an effective tool to describe the topological structure of software. Recently, many object-oriented software systems were found to share global network features such as scale free and small world. In this paper, we defined a special structural feature of individual class to investigate the relationship between external structure and internal function. The metric (m) takes in-degree and reachable set of nodes in class-level dependency graphs derived from source code into consideration. Experimental results show that (1) the distribution of frequency-of-occurrence of m roughly follows a power-law distribution, and (2) there is a weak but distinct positive correlation between m and either WMC or LCOM, and classes with complex multiple-dependency structure have on average more complicated functions (and less cohesion) than other classes within specific groups classified by m. Thus, the metric could be a useful complementary measure for traditional OO metrics to analyze the complexity, stability and maintainability of classes.

Published in:

Software Technology and Engineering (ICSTE), 2010 2nd International Conference on  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

3-5 Oct. 2010