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Measuring the Impact of Changes to the Complexity and Coupling Properties of Automotive Software Systems

Journal article
Authors Darko Durisic
Martin Nilsson
Miroslaw Staron
Jörgen Hansson
Published in Journal of Systems and Software
Volume 86
Issue 5
Pages 1275-1293
ISSN 0164-1212
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Computer Science and Engineering (GU)
Pages 1275-1293
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2012.12.02...
Keywords software engineering, metrics, automotive
Subject categories Communication Systems

Abstract

Background In the past few decades exponential increase in the amount of software used in cars has been recorded together with enhanced requirements for functional safety of their embedded software. As the evolution of software systems in cars often entails changes to software architecture, it is important to be able to monitor their impact. Method We conducted a case study on a distributed software system in cars at Volvo Car Corporation with the goal to develop, apply and evaluate measures of complexity and coupling which could support software architects in monitoring changes. Results The results showed that two metrics - structural complexity and coupling measures – can guide architectural work and turn attention of architects to most complex subsystems. The results were confirmed by monitoring a complete electrical system of a vehicle under two releases. Conclusion By applying the metrics after each significant change in the architecture, it is possible to verify that certain quality attributes have not deteriorated and to identify new testing areas. Using these metrics increases the product quality with respect to stability, reliability, and maintainability and also has potential to reduce long-term software development/maintenance costs.

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