Assessing architectural evolution: a case study


Wermelinger, Michel, Yu, Yijun, Lozano, Angela and Capiluppi, Andrea 2011. Assessing architectural evolution: a case study.
AuthorsWermelinger, Michel, Yu, Yijun, Lozano, Angela and Capiluppi, Andrea

This paper proposes to use a historical perspective on generic laws, principles,
and guidelines, like Lehman’s software evolution laws and Martin’s design principles, in
order to achieve a multi-faceted process and structural assessment of a system’s architectural
evolution. We present a simple structural model with associated historical metrics and
visualizations that could form part of an architect’s dashboard.
We perform such an assessment for the Eclipse SDK, as a case study of a large, complex,
and long-lived system for which sustained effective architectural evolution is paramount.
The twofold aim of checking generic principles on a well-know system is, on the one hand,
to see whether there are certain lessons that could be learned for best practice of architectural
evolution, and on the other hand to get more insights about the applicability of such
principles. We find that while the Eclipse SDK does follow several of the laws and principles,
there are some deviations, and we discuss areas of architectural improvement and
limitations of the assessment approach.

Keywordssoftware evolution; software architecture
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Deposited11 Jul 2011
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License: CC BY-ND

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