Do automatic refactorings improve maintainability? An industrial case study

Gabor Szoke, Csaba Nagy, Peter Hegedus, R. Ferenc, T. Gyimóthy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Refactoring is often treated as the main remedy against the unavoidable code erosion happening during software evolution. Studies show that refactoring is indeed an elemental part of the developers' arsenal. However, empirical studies about the impact of refactorings on software maintainability still did not reach a consensus. Moreover, most of these empirical investigations are carried out on open-source projects where distinguishing refactoring operations from other development activities is a challenge in itself. We had a chance to work together with several software development companies in a project where they got extra budget to improve their source code by performing refactoring operations. Taking advantage of this controlled environment, we collected a large amount of data during a refactoring phase where the developers used a (semi)automatic refactoring tool. By measuring the maintainability of the involved subject systems before and after the refactorings, we got valuable insights into the effect of these refactorings on large-scale industrial projects. All but one company, who applied a special refactoring strategy, achieved a maintainability improvement at the end of the refactoring phase, but even that one company suffered from the negative impact of only one type of refactoring.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 IEEE 31st International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution, ICSME 2015 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages429-438
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781467375320
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 19 2015
Event31st IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution, ICSME 2015 - Bremen, Germany
Duration: Sep 29 2015Oct 1 2015

Other

Other31st IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution, ICSME 2015
CountryGermany
CityBremen
Period9/29/1510/1/15

Keywords

  • automatic refactoring
  • coding issues
  • ISO/IEC 25010
  • software maintainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software

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  • Cite this

    Szoke, G., Nagy, C., Hegedus, P., Ferenc, R., & Gyimóthy, T. (2015). Do automatic refactorings improve maintainability? An industrial case study. In 2015 IEEE 31st International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution, ICSME 2015 - Proceedings (pp. 429-438). [7332494] Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICSM.2015.7332494