Software Evolution

Software evolution studies software engineering under the perspective of software maintenance and change management. The term was coined in the 70 after the seminal work of Lehman and his laws of software evolution.

As such, software evolution is a topic as broad as software engineering itself – any aspect of software engineering (being a process, methodology, tool, or technique) can indeed be studied under the perspective of software evolution.

The book is a comprehensive overview of the current body of knowledge in software evolution. It contains 10 chapters addressing each one a specific field of software engineering under the perspective of software evolution. The articles present recent works and open challenges; the book can then be seen as comprehensive survey as well as a research agenda. The book bibliography is impressive and more than 500 articles are referenced throughout the 10 chapters.

Apart from this selection of articles, the book has an excellent introduction the field of software evolution, and a set of useful appendices pointing to additional resources in this field. The 10 chapters are organized into 3 parts:

Part I: Program understanding and analysis

Identifying and Removing Software Clones
Analysing Software Repositories to Understand Software Evolution
Predicting Bugs from History

Part II: Re-engineering

Object-Oriented Reengineering
Migration of Legacy Information Systems
Architectural Transformations: From Legacy to Three-Tier and Services

Part III: Novel trends in software evolution

On the Interplay Between Software Testing and Evolution and its Effect on Program Comprehension
Evolution Issues in Aspect-Oriented Programming
Software Architecture Evolution
Empirical Studies of Open Source Evolution

Chapters I enjoyed the most were “Object-oriented reengineering”, “On the interplay between…” and “Evolution Issues in AOP”.

I wish there was a chapter about evolutionary issues in model-driven engineering, which is an important area of research. I therefore would recommend “Model-Driven Software Evolution: A Research Agenda” as a complement to this book.

The book is accessible to non-expert and I learned a lot while reading it. The book is definitively worth looking at for anyone interested to understand what “software evolution” is all about.

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