Towards a holistic framework for software artefact consistency management
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A software system is represented by different software artefacts ranging from requirements specifications to source code. As the system evolves, artefacts are often modified at different rates and times resulting in inconsistencies, which in turn can hinder effective communication between stakeholders, and the understanding and maintenance of systems. The problem of the differential evolution of heterogeneous software artefacts has not been sufficiently addressed to date as current solutions focus on specific sets of artefacts and aspects of consistency management and are not fully automated. This thesis presents the concept of holistic artefact consistency management and a proof-of-concept framework, ACM, which aim to support the consistent evolution of heterogeneous software artefacts while minimising the impact on user choices and practices and maximising automation. The ACM framework incorporates traceability, change impact analysis, change detection, consistency checking and change propagation mechanisms and is designed to be extensible. The thesis describes the design, implementation and evaluation of the framework, and an approach to automate trace link creation using machine learning techniques. The framework evaluation uses six open source systems and suggests that managing the consistency of heterogeneous artefacts may be feasible in practical scenarios.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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