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Modern software systems build on a significant number of external libraries to deliver feature-rich and high-quality software in a cost-efficient and timely manner. As a consequence, these systems contain a considerable amount of third-party code. External libraries thus have a significant impact on maintenance activities in the project. However, most approaches that assess the maintainability of software systems largely neglect this important factor. Hence, risks may remain unidentified, threatening the ability to effectively evolve the system in the future. We propose a structured approach to assess the third-party library usage in software projects and identify potential problems. Industrial experience strongly influences our approach, which we designed in a lightweight way to enable easy adoption in practice. We present an industrial case study showing the applicability of the approach to a real-world software system.
Date of Conference: 23-28 Sept. 2012