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The impact of inheritance depth on maintenance tasks: detailed description and evaluation of two experiment replications

Unger, Barbara; Prechelt, Lutz; Philippsen, Michael


Inheritance is one of the main concepts of object-oriented technology. It
is claimed that the use of inheritance improves productivity and
decreases development time.

John Daly et al. reported on two experiments evaluating the effects of
inheritance depth on program maintenance. They found that maintenance was
performed significantly quicker for software using three levels of
inheritance, compared to equivalent `flattened' software without
inheritance. A second experiment found that maintenance for software
using five levels of inheritance tended to be slightly slower
than for equivalent software without inheritance.

We report on similar experiments on the same question. Our results
contradict those mentioned above. Several crucial changes were made to
the setup. In particular longer and more complex programs were used, an
inheritance diagram was available to the subjects, and we used more and
different kinds of maintenance tasks. Furthermore, our experiment design
compares zero level, three level and five level inheritance directly in
one experiment.

The results suggest that there is a tendency that deeper inheritance
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Volltext §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/57698
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Programmstrukturen und Datenorganisation (IPD)
Publikationstyp Forschungsbericht/Preprint
Publikationsjahr 1998
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 1432-7864
KITopen-ID: 57698
Verlag Universität Karlsruhe (TH)
Serie Interner Bericht. Fakultät für Informatik, Universität Karlsruhe ; 1998,18
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