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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 237243, 10 pages
Research Article

Network-Based Analysis of Software Change Propagation

1School of Computer Science and Technology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430063, China
2School of Computer Science and Telecommunication Engineering, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu 212013, China

Received 17 October 2013; Accepted 24 February 2014; Published 26 March 2014

Academic Editors: L. Cerulo and Y. Zhu

Copyright © 2014 Rongcun Wang 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.


The object-oriented software systems frequently evolve to meet new change requirements. Understanding the characteristics of changes aids testers and system designers to improve the quality of softwares. Identifying important modules becomes a key issue in the process of evolution. In this context, a novel network-based approach is proposed to comprehensively investigate change distributions and the correlation between centrality measures and the scope of change propagation. First, software dependency networks are constructed at class level. And then, the number of times of cochanges among classes is minded from software repositories. According to the dependency relationships and the number of times of cochanges among classes, the scope of change propagation is calculated. Using Spearman rank correlation analyzes the correlation between centrality measures and the scope of change propagation. Three case studies on java open source software projects Findbugs, Hibernate, and Spring are conducted to research the characteristics of change propagation. Experimental results show that (i) change distribution is very uneven; (ii) PageRank, Degree, and CIRank are significantly correlated to the scope of change propagation. Particularly, CIRank shows higher correlation coefficient, which suggests it can be a more useful indicator for measuring the scope of change propagation of classes in object-oriented software system.