Lines of Comments as a Noteworthy Metric for Analyzing Fault-Proneness in Methods

Hirohisa AMAN  Sousuke AMASAKI  Takashi SASAKI  Minoru KAWAHARA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E98-D   No.12   pp.2218-2228
Publication Date: 2015/12/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.2015EDP7107
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Software Engineering
product metrics,  fault-prone method prediction,  comments,  regression model,  

Full Text: PDF(614.6KB)>>
Buy this Article

This paper focuses on the power of comments to predict fault-prone programs. In general, comments along with executable statements enhance the understandability of programs. However, comments may also be used to mask the lack of readability in the program, therefore well-written comments are referred to as “deodorant to mask code smells” in the field of code refactoring. This paper conducts an empirical analysis to examine whether Lines of Comments (LCM) written inside a method's body is a noteworthy metric for analyzing fault-proneness in Java methods. The empirical results show the following two findings: (1) more-commented methods (the methods having more comments than the amount estimated by size and complexity of the methods) are about 1.6 - 2.8 times more likely to be faulty than the others, and (2) LCM can be a useful factor in fault-prone method prediction models along with the method size and the method complexity.