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A catalog of source code metrics – a tertiary study
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3177-6138
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7266-5632
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0639-4234
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8132-0107
2023 (English)In: Software Quality: Higher Software Quality through Zero Waste Development / [ed] Daniel Mendez, Dietmar Winkler, Johannes Kross, Stefan Biffl, Johannes Bergsmann, Springer, 2023, Vol. 472, p. 87-106Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Context: A large number of source code metrics are reported in the literature. It is necessary to systematically collect, describe and classify source code metrics to support research and practice.Objective: We aim to utilize existing secondary studies to develop a cat- alog of source code metrics together with their descriptions. The catalog will also provide information about which units of code (e.g., operators, operands, lines of code, variables, parameters, code blocks, or functions) are used to measure the internal quality attributes and the scope on which they are collected. 

Method: We conducted a tertiary study to identify secondary studies re- porting source code metrics. We have classified the source code metrics according to the measured internal quality attributes, the units of code used in the measures, and the scope at which the source code metrics are collected. 

Results: From 711 secondary studies, we identified 52 relevant secondary studies. We reported 423 source code metrics together with their de- scriptions and the internal quality attributes they measure. Source code metrics predominantly incorporate function as a unit of code to measure internal quality attributes. In contrast, several source code metrics use more than one unit of code when measuring internal quality attributes. Nearly 51% of the source code metrics are collected at the class scope, while almost 12% and 15% of source code metrics are collected at module and application levels, respectively. 

Conclusions: Researchers and practitioners can use the extensive catalog to assess which source code metrics meet their individual needs based on the description and classification scheme presented. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2023. Vol. 472, p. 87-106
Series
Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, ISSN 1865-1348, E-ISSN 1865-1356 ; 472
Keywords [en]
Internal quality attributes, Code measurement, Code quality, Ter- tiary study, Source code metrics
National Category
Software Engineering
Research subject
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-24650DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-31488-9_5Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85161231906ISBN: 978-3-031-31487-2 (print)ISBN: 978-3-031-31488-9 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-24650DiVA, id: diva2:1760340
Conference
15th International Conference on Software Quality, SWQD 2023, Munich, Germany, May 23-25, 2023
Part of project
OSIR- Open Source Inspired Reuse, Knowledge Foundation
Funder
ELLIIT - The Linköping‐Lund Initiative on IT and Mobile Communications, B07Available from: 2023-05-30 Created: 2023-05-30 Last updated: 2024-03-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards Measuring & Improving Source Code Quality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards Measuring & Improving Source Code Quality
2024 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Context: Software quality has a multi-faceted description encompassing several quality attributes. Central to our efforts to enhance software quality is to improve the quality of the source code. Poor source code quality impacts the quality of the delivered product. Empirical studies have investigated how to improve source code quality and how to quantify the source code improvement. However, the reported evidence linking internal code structure information and quality attributes observed by users is varied and, at times, conflicting. Furthermore, there is a further need for research to improve source code quality by understanding trends in feedback from code review comments.

Objective: This thesis contributes towards improving source code quality and synthesizes metrics to measure improvement in source code quality. Hence, our objectives are 1) To synthesize evidence of links between source code metrics and external quality attributes, & identify source code metrics, and 2) To identify areas to improve source code quality by identifying recurring code quality issues using the analysis of code review comments.

Method: We conducted a tertiary study to achieve the first objective, an archival analysis and a case study to investigate the latter two objectives.

Results: To quantify source code quality improvement, we reported a comprehensive catalog of source code metrics and a small set of source code metrics consistently linked with maintainability, reliability, and security. To improve source code quality using analysis of code review comments, our explored methodology improves the state-of-the-art with interesting results.

Conclusions: The thesis provides a promising way to analyze themes in code review comments. Researchers can use the source code metrics provided to estimate these quality attributes reliably. In future work, we aim to derive a software improvement checklist based on the analysis of trends in code review comments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2024. p. 169
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 2024:02
Keywords
Source code quality, Code review analysis, Software quality improvement
National Category
Computer Systems
Research subject
Software Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-25608 (URN)978-91-7295-474-8 (ISBN)
Presentation
2024-04-12, J1630, Karlskrona, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
ELLIIT - The Linköping‐Lund Initiative on IT and Mobile Communications
Available from: 2024-03-13 Created: 2024-03-13 Last updated: 2024-03-21Bibliographically approved

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Iftikhar, UmarAli, Nauman binBörstler, JürgenUsman, Muhammad

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