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There are many ideas in software design that are considered good practice. However, research is still needed to validate their contributions to software maintenance. This paper presents a method for examining software systems that have been actively maintained and used over the long term and are potential candidates for yielding lessons about design. The method relies on a criterion of stability and a definition of distance to flag design characteristics that have potentially contributed to long-term maintainability. It is demonstrated by application to an example of long-lived scientific software. The results from this demonstration show that the method can provide insight into the relative importance of individual elements of a set of design characteristics for the long-term evolution of software.
Software evolution, scientific software, maintainability, distance metric, software design, stability, software architecture.
Diane Kelly, "A Study of Design Characteristics in Evolving Software Using Stability as a Criterion", IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 32, no. , pp. 315-329, May 2006, doi:10.1109/TSE.2006.42
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