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An experimental evaluation of quality guidelines on the maintainability of object-oriented design documents

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

Wiedenbeck, S.; Scholtz, J.:
Empirical Studies of Programmers. Seventh Workshop
New York: ACM Press, 1997
ISBN: 0-89791-992-0
S.1-19 : Ill., Lit.
Workshop on Empirical Studies of Programmers <7, 1997, Alexandria>
Fraunhofer IESE ()
document design; experiment; maintainability; object-oriented; replication

This paper presents a controlled experiment focusing on the impact of applying quality design principles such as the ones provided by Coad and Yourdon on the maintainability of object-oriented design documents. 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 design documents. It is argued that object-oriented design documents are sensitive to poor design practices because the cognitive complexity introduced becomes increasingly unmanageable. However, as our ability to generalise these results is limited, they should be considered as preliminary, i.e., it is very likely that they can only be generalised 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.