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A controlled experiment for evaluating quality guidelines on the maintainability of object-oriented designs

: Briand, L.; Bunse, C.; Daly, J.


IEEE transactions on software engineering 27 (2001), Nr.6, S.513-530
ISSN: 0098-5589
Fraunhofer IESE ()
design documents; experiment; maintainability; object-oriented; replication

The paper presents a controlled experiment, focusing on the impact of applying quality design principles such as the ones provided by P. Coad and E. Yourdon (1991) on the maintainability of object oriented designs. Results, which repeat the findings of a previous study, strongly suggest that such design principles have a beneficial effect on the maintainability of object oriented designs. It is argued that object oriented designs are sensitive to poor design practices because the cognitive complexity introduced becomes increasingly unmanageable. However, as our ability to generalize these results is limited, they should be considered as preliminary, i.e., it is very likely that they can only be generalized to programmers with little object oriented training and programming experience. Such programmers can, however, be commonly found on maintenance projects. As well as additional research, external replications of this study are required to confirm the results and achieve confidence in these findings.