A metadata driven process for assessing stability and reusability based on risk of change of software systems

Bilal Mehboob, Chun Yong Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Measuring and estimating the reusability of software components are important steps toward finding reusable candidates. Reuse of software components can aid in the reduction of the development cost of new software or maintenance of existing ones. However, assessing the reusability of software is a challenging task. Even if reusable candidates can be identified, developers will need to decide on the reuse strategies, that is, reuse as it is without any modification, or introduce new changes to the reusable candidate to fulfill requirements in the new environment or releases. Thus, the stability of the reusable candidates plays a pivotal role because it will influence the ease of reuse. Assessing and predicting the stability of potential reusable candidates becomes a significant and important step in software reuse. In this research, we propose to leverage on risk of change as a proxy to measure software stability, where the latter is also a proxy measure for software reuse. Based on experiments conducted on 29 open-source software with different sizes and application types hosted on GitHub, we found that classes with high impact and high risk of change should be avoided from being reused due to their instability, while those classes with low impact and risk of change should be given priority. The proposed work can aid in providing a better understanding of the ease of reuse for software systems and can be used as a tool to assess its overall quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1218-1248
Number of pages31
JournalSoftware: Practice and Experience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

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