An approach to feature-based software construction for enhancing maintainability

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While the way we build software affects significantly its maintenance in terms of the effort and cost, the experience level of the maintainer in a software acquirers' organization is also one of concern. In this context, often the maintainer is the user of the system. Unfortunately, it is quite possible to lose the trustworthiness of the software due to the inexperience of the maintainer, especially when the maintainer is without the help of the original developers. One remedy for providing security against the effects of the maintainer's software modifications is to restrict the access to software parts (modules) relative to the experience level of the maintainers. For such a remedy to be successful, the software should be constructed in such a way that its parts under maintenance affect others as little as possible. We propose an approach to software construction aligning the dependencies among software parts in one direction so that they are allocated to maintainers based on their experience level. Our approach decomposes the software into parts based on functionality and orders the parts by essentiality, which indicates how difficult it is to change each part. Then, we align the dependencies in such a way that the less essential functionality is dependent on the more essential functionality. Consequently, any modification on less essential functionality does not affect the essential functionalities. To demonstrate the feasibility of our proposed approach, we applied it to a military application and found that the constructed software enables us to confine maintainers' activity within a limited working area, and thus the software is safer against maintainers' modification. Copyright (C) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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SOFTWARE-PRACTICE & EXPERIENCE, v.36, no.9, pp.923 - 948

Software: Practice and Experience, Vol.36, No.9, pp.923-948
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CS-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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