A Graph-Based Class Structural Complexity Metric and Its Evaluation

Hirohisa AMAN  Hiroyuki YAMADA  Matu-Tarow NODA  Torao YANARU  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E85-D   No.4   pp.674-684
Publication Date: 2002/04/01
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Issue on Knowledge-Based Software Engineering)
Category: Metrics
object oriented software metrics,  class structural complexity,  directed graph,  

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Properly representation of the complexity of class structure will be useful in object oriented software developments. Although some class complexity metrics have been proposed, they have ignored directions of coupling relationships among methods and attributes, such as whether a method writes data onto an attribute or reads data from the attribute. In this paper, we use a directed graph model to represent such coupling relationships. Based on the directed graph model, we propose a metric of class structural complexity. The proposed metric satisfies necessary conditions of complexity metric suggested by Briand and others. The following fact is showed by experimental data of Java classes. While the proposed metric follows a conventional metric, the proposed metric can capture an aspect of class structural complexity which is lost by the conventional one.