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A Validation of Object-Oriented Design Metrics as Quality Indicators

: Basili, V.R.; Briand, L.C.; Melo, W.L.


IEEE transactions on software engineering 22 (1996), No.10, pp.751-761 : Ill., Lit.
ISSN: 0098-5589
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IESE ()
C++; error prediction model; object-oriented design metrics; object-oriented software development

This paper presents the results of a study in which we empirically investigated the suite of object-oriented (OO) design metrics introduced in [13]. More specifically, our goal is to assess these metrics as predictors of fault-prone classes and, therefore, determine whether they can be used as early quality indicators. This study is complementary to the work described in [30] where the same suite of metrics had been used to assess frequencies of maintenance changes to classes. To perform our validation accurately, we collected data on the developement of eight medium-sized information management systems based on identical requirements. All eight projects were developed using a sequential life cycle model, a well-known OO analysis/design method and the C++ programming language. Based on empirical and quantitative analysis, the advantages and drawbacks of these OO metrics are discussed. Several of Chidamber and Kemerer's OO metrics appear to be useful to predict class fault-proneness dur ing the early phases of the life-cycle. Also, on our data set, they are better predictors than "traditional" code metrics, which can only be collected at a later phase of the software development processes.