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Advances in Software Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 938296, 22 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/938296
Research Article

An Empirical Study on the Impact of Duplicate Code

Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Osaka University, Osaka 565-0871, Japan

Received 4 January 2012; Accepted 5 March 2012

Academic Editor: Osamu Mizuno

Copyright © 2012 Keisuke Hotta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

It is said that the presence of duplicate code is one of the factors that make software maintenance more difficult. Many research efforts have been performed on detecting, removing, or managing duplicate code on this basis. However, some researchers doubt this basis in recent years and have conducted empirical studies to investigate the influence of the presence of duplicate code. In this study, we conduct an empirical study to investigate this matter from a different standpoint from previous studies. In this study, we define a new indicator “modification frequency” to measure the impact of duplicate code and compare the values between duplicate code and nonduplicate code. The features of this study are as follows the indicator used in this study is based on modification places instead of the ratio of modified lines; we use multiple duplicate code detection tools to reduce biases of detection tools; and we compare the result of the proposed method with other two investigation methods. The result shows that duplicate code tends to be less frequently modified than nonduplicate code, and we found some instances that the proposed method can evaluate the influence of duplicate code more accurately than the existing investigation methods.