Hotspot Patterns: The Formal Definition and Automatic Detection of Architecture Smells
CARNEGIE-MELLON UNIV PITTSBURGH PA SOFTWARE ENGINEERING INST
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In this paper, we propose and empirically validate a suite of hotspot patterns recurring architecture problems that occur in most complex systems and incur high maintenance costs. In particular, we introduce two novel hotspot patterns, Unstable Interface and Implicit Cross-module Dependency. These patterns are defined based on Baldwin and Clarks design rule theory, and detected by the combination of history and architecture information. Through our tool-supported evaluations, we show that these patterns not only identify the most error-prone and changeprone files, they also pinpoint specific architecture problems that may be the root causes of bugginess and change proneness. Significantly, we show that 1 these structure-history integrated patterns contribute more to error- and change-proneness than other hotspot patterns, and 2 the more hotspot patterns a file is involved in, the more error- and change-prone it is. Finally, we report on an industrial case study to demonstrate the practicality of these hotspot patterns. The architect and developers confirmed that our hotspot detector discovered the majority of the architecture problems causing maintenance pain, and they have started to improve the systems maintainability by refactoring and fixing the identified architecture issues.
- Computer Programming and Software