A Comparison and Evaluation of Variants in the Coupling Between Objects Metric

Journal article

Child, M, Rosner, P and Counsell, S (2019). A Comparison and Evaluation of Variants in the Coupling Between Objects Metric. Journal of Systems and Software. 151 (2019), pp. 120-132.
AuthorsChild, M, Rosner, P and Counsell, S

The Coupling Between Objects metric (CBO) is a widely-used metric but, in practice, ambiguities in its correct implementation have led to different values being computed by different metric tools and studies. CBO has often been shown to correlate with defect occurrence in software systems, but the use of different calculations is commonly overlooked. This paper investigates the varying interpretations of CBO used by those metrics tools and researchers and defines a set of metrics representing the different computational approaches used. These metrics are calculated for a large-scale Java system and logistic regression used to correlate them with defect data obtained by analysing the system’s version tracking records. The different variations of CBO are shown to have significantly different correlations to defects. Regarding results, a clear binary divide was found between CBO values which, on the one hand, predicted a defect and, on the other, those that did not. The results, therefore, show that a clarification or unambiguous re-definition of CBO is both desirable and essential for a general consensus on its use. Moreover, applications of the metric must pay close attention to the actual method of calculation being used and, conclusions and comparisons made as a result.

JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Journal citation151 (2019), pp. 120-132
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2019.02.020
Web address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0164121219300305
Publication dates
Print08 Feb 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Feb 2019
Accepted07 Feb 2019
Accepted author manuscript
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Accepted author manuscript

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