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Software restructuring: understanding longitudinal architectural changes and refactoring

Paixao, Matheus; (2018) Software restructuring: understanding longitudinal architectural changes and refactoring. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The complexity of software systems increases as the systems evolve. As the degradation of the system's structure accumulates, maintenance effort and defect-proneness tend to increase. In addition, developers often opt to employ sub-optimal solutions in order to achieve short-time goals, in a phenomenon that has been recently called technical debt. In this context, software restructuring serves as a way to alleviate and/or prevent structural degradation. Restructuring of software is usually performed in either higher or lower levels of granularity, where the first indicates broader changes in the system's structural architecture and the latter indicates refactorings performed to fewer and localised code elements. Although tools to assist architectural changes and refactoring are available, there is still no evidence these approaches are widely adopted by practitioners. Hence, an understanding of how developers perform architectural changes and refactoring in their daily basis and in the context of the software development processes they adopt is necessary. Current software development is iterative and incremental with short cycles of development and release. Thus, tools and processes that enable this development model, such as continuous integration and code review, are widespread among software engineering practitioners. Hence, this thesis investigates how developers perform longitudinal and incremental architectural changes and refactoring during code review through a wide range of empirical studies that consider different moments of the development lifecycle, different approaches, different automated tools and different analysis mechanisms. Finally, the observations and conclusions drawn from these empirical investigations extend the existing knowledge on how developers restructure software systems, in a way that future studies can leverage this knowledge to propose new tools and approaches that better fit developers' working routines and development processes.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Software restructuring: understanding longitudinal architectural changes and refactoring
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2018. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10060511
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