Un Análisis Experimental sobre el Efecto del Acoplamiento en la Comprensibilidad y Facilidad de Modificación de xpresiones OCL (The Effect of Coupling on Understanding and Modifying OCL Expressions: An Experimental Analysis)

Luis Reynoso (lreynoso@uncoma.edu.ar)1, Marcela Genero (Marcela.Genero@uclm.es)2, Mario Piattini (Mario.Piattini@uclm.es)2, Esperanza Manso (manso@infor.uva.es)3

1Departamento de Ciencias de la Computación, Facultad de Economía y Administración, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Neuquén, Argentina
2Grupo de Investigación Alarcos, Departamento de Ciencias de Computación, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real, Spain
3Grupo de Investigación GIRO, Departamento de Ciencias de Computación, Universidad de Valladolid, España

This paper appears in: Revista IEEE América Latina

Publication Date: April 2006
Volume: 4,   Issue: 2 
ISSN: 1548-0992

Not all the model constraints can be defined using only UML graphical features due to the limited expressiveness of diagram-based UML notation. To solve this problem, the OCL language was defined as a textual add-on to the UML diagrams, allowing the specification of a wide range of constraints of objects. Aware of the lack of metrics to capture the quality aspects of UML/OCL models and the importance of models in recent initiatives of model-Driven software engineering (such as Model-Driven Development and Model-Driven Architecture), we define a set of metrics for measuring the structural properties of OCL constraints in UML/OCL models. Many of these metrics are defined in terms of navigations, a core concept of OCL that defines coupling between objects. This paper carefully describes a family of experiments we have conducted to ascertain whether any relationship exists between object coupling (defined through metrics related to navigations and collection operations) and two maintainability subcharacteristics: understandability and modifiability of OCL expressions. Empirical evidence that such a relationship exists is shown in the obtained results, however they must be considered as preliminaries results. Further validation is needed to strengthen the conclusions and external validity.

Index Terms:
Software metrics, coupling, student experiment, software quality, data models, modeling   

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