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On the relationship between code cloning and maintenance
{ Thu, 2 Nov 2006, 11h00 }

By: Michel Wermelinger  [ show info ]

Code clones can improve programmer productivity through reuse of semantic or syntactic constructs. However, they may increase the software maintenance effort by introducing unnecessary hidden dependencies. We investigated the relationships between clones and maintenance effort. Given that maintenance comprises a substantial proportion of the total software production effort, it is pertinent to determine whether or not cloning is a significant threat to effective software maintenance.

We presents a framework that extracts the history of cloned methods and analyzes it automatically. For each cloned method and each pair of cloned methods, the analysis compares, respectively, the amount and frequency of change and cochange in periods when methods are cloned versus periods when they are not.

The utility of our approach is validated through application to two Java open source projects. The results show that clones are mostly stable code. There is an increase of change and co-change in cloned periods, but the frequency of change on cloned periods is at best similar and even lower than for not cloned periods. We therefore think that there is not enough evidence to suggest that clones have a noticeable impact on maintenance effort.

Hosted by: Software Systems

Location: Sala de SeminĂ¡rios do DI

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