Studying the Effect of Refactorings: a Complexity Metrics Perspective

TitleStudying the Effect of Refactorings: a Complexity Metrics Perspective
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsSoetens, QD, Demeyer S
Conference NameQUATIC 2010: The 7th International Conference on Quality in Information and Communications Technology
PublisherIEEE Computer Society Press
ISBN Number978-0-7695-4241-6

Refactoring is widely recognized as a way to improve the internal structure of a software system in order to ensure its long-term maintainability. Consequently, software projects which adopt refactoring practices should see reductions in the complexity of their code base. We evaluated this assumption on an open source system –-namely PMD, a Java source code analyzer–- and discovered that periods of refactorings did not affect the cyclomatic complexity. This paper investigates this counterintuitive phenomenon through a detailed analysis of the actual source code manipulations applied on the system under study.