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Heuristics for Discovering Architectural Violations (WCRE 2013)


Published October 14, 2013 in Research

Software architecture conformance is a key software quality control activity that aims to reveal the progressive gap normally observed between concrete and planned software architectures. In this paper, we present ArchLint, a lightweight approach for architecture conformance based on a combination of static and historical source code analysis. For this purpose, ArchLint relies on four heuristics for detecting both absences and divergences in source code based architectures. We applied ArchLint in an industrial-strength system and as a result we detected 119 architectural violations, with an overall precision of 46.7% and a recall of 96.2%, for divergences. We also evaluated ArchLint with four open-source systems, used in an independent study on reflexion models. In this second study, ArchLint achieved precision results ranging from 57.1% to 89.4%.