Special issue on “software quality in software-intensive systems”
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This Special Issue looks at articles that investigate any software quality aspects within the context of software-intensive systems. The focus upon quality is due to its pivotal role when developing and managing any software solution, which also applies to software-intensive systems. Such systems are described as “any system where software contributes essential influences to the design, construction, deployment, and evolution of the system as a whole” [IEEE Std 42010:2011]. Examples of software-intensive systems are embedded systems for avionics and automotive applications, large-scale heterogeneous systems, or business applications with special focus on Web services.
Model-based development, components, and services
Software quality management: measurement, peopleware, and innovation
Software process and product improvement
We received a total of 16 manuscripts, of which five were accepted for publication. Each manuscript was reviewed by at least two reviewers.
Topic 1: Model-based development, components, and services
Paper: Architecture optimization: speed or accuracy? Both!; by Federico Ciccozzi, Juraj Feljan, Jan Carlson, and Ivica Crnkovic
Motivated by the increase in the complexity of embedded systems, and the need for early analysis of sound architectural solutions with respect to quality attributes, the authors propose a new method for architecture optimization that combines both a model-based and an execution-based approach. Its main principle is to first employ model-based optimization for a fast identification of a good architecture candidate, which is then used as input for an execution-based optimization, which is a slower however more accurate type of optimization. Their results showed that the proposed solution identified, on average, a better architectural solution, when compared to the solution that would be proposed using solely a pure execution-based or pure model-based optimizations.
Paper: Considerations about quality in model-driven engineering: current state, challenges, and example; by Faber D. Giraldo, Sergio España, Oscar Pastor, and William J. Giraldo
Topic 2: Software quality management: measurement, peopleware, and innovation
Paper: Coherence of comments and method implementations: a dataset and an empirical investigation; by Anna Corazza, Valerio Maggio, and Giuseppe Scanniello
Topic 3: Software process and product improvement
Paper: Challenges of software process and product quality improvement: catalyzing defect root-cause investigation by process enactment data analysis; by Mehmet Söylemez and Ayca Tarhan
The motivation for this research relates to improving both the software development process and product quality by understanding the root causes of defects, and to be able to do this even if an organization is emergent or resides at lower maturity levels. The authors present and assess a method that employs root-cause analysis to understand the root cause of software defects. Defects were gathered from a software-intensive project of a CMMI ML3-certified institute. The proposed method combines process enactment data collection and analysis with a defect root-cause analysis technique called Orthogonal Defect Classification (ODC). Results showed that the method could be applied efficiently, and led to improvements in development performance and product quality.
Paper: Integrating software quality models into risk-based testing; by Harald Foidl and Michael Felderer
The motivation for the last paper in this special issue relates to combining a quality model-based quality assessment with risk-based testing. The authors look at this issue by first detailing two different and general ways to integrate quality assessments based on quality models with risk-based testing. This is followed up by a specific integration, with tool support, that uses the open quality model QuaMoCo as a basis to illustrate how quality assessment and risk-based testing can work together. This integration is later assessed in a case study where five open source products are used. Results showed that the risk-based strategy outperformed the sole use of a code-based testing strategy, as per the number of classes that should be tested in order to find all defects. Further, they also found a relationship between the risk coefficient and the associated number of defects of a class.
We do hope that you will be pleased when reading the papers in this Special Issue, and we would like to add that this would not have been possible without the great help and support of a number of people, as follows: the authors who submitted excellent papers to the Special Issue; all the reviewers who did a brilliant job in selecting very high-quality contributions, which led to the selection of the five papers detailed herein; and last but not the least, the SQJ editor-in-chief Professor Rachel Harrison, for agreeing to include this Special Issue, and for her guidance throughout the whole process.