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A Metric-based Approach to Detect Abstract Data Types and State Encapsulations

: Girard, J.-F.; Koschke, R.; Schied, G.


Werner, B. ; IEEE Computer Society:
12th IEEE International Conference Automated Software Engineering 1997. Proceedings
Los Alamitos, Calif.: IEEE Computer Society Press, 1997
ISBN: 0-8186-7961-1
pp.82-89 : Ill., Lit.
International Conference Automated Software Engineering (ASE) <12, 1997, Incline Village/Nev.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IESE ()
abstract data type; object extraction; program understanding; reverse engineering

This article presents an approach to identify abstract data types (ADT) and abstract state encapsulations (ASE, also called abstract objects) in source code. This approach groups together functions, types, and variables into ADT and ASE candidates according to the proportion of features they share. The set of features considered includes the context of these elements, the relationships to their environment, and informal information. A prototype tool has been implemented to support this approach. It has been applied to three C systems (each between 30-38 Kloc). The ADT's and ASE's identified by the approach are compared to those identified by software engineers who did not know the proposed approach. In a case study, this approach has been shown to identify, in most cases, more ADT's and ASE's than five published techniques applied on the same systems. This is important when trying to identify as many ADT's and ASE's as possible.