Estimating the Complexity of Software Services Using an Entropy Based Metric

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9586)


Poor design of software services results in unnecessarily complex and inflexible SOA applications that are difficult to maintain and evolve. There is also some evidence that the quality of service-oriented applications degrades and as complexity increases with new service versions that include modifications to rectify problems and improve functionality. Design quality metrics play an important role in identifying software quality issues early in the software development lifecycle. The concept of software entropy has been used in literature to express decline in the quality, maintainability and understandability of software through its lifecycle. In this paper we propose a Service Entropy Metric (SEM) that estimates the complexity of service design based on the complexity of the XML message structures that form the basis for service interfaces. We illustrate the application of the SEM metric using the Open Travel Alliance specification and show that the complexity of the specification as measured by SEM increases over time as new versions of the specification are released.


Service design metrics Service complexity Software entropy 


  1. 1.
    Fielding, R.T.: Architectural Styles and the Design of Network-based Software Architectures (2000).
  2. 2.
    Basci, D., Misra, S.: Measuring and evaluating a design complexity metric for XML schema documents. J. Inf. Sci. Eng. 25(5), 1405–1425 (2009)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bansiya, J., Davis, C.G.: A hierarchical model for object-oriented design quality assessment. IEEE Trans. Softw. Eng. 28(1), 4–17 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Etzkorn, L.H., et al.: A comparison of cohesion metrics for object-oriented systems. Inf. Softw. Technol. 46(10), 677–687 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Eder, J., Kappel, G., Schrefl, M.: Coupling and cohesion in object-oriented systems. Technical report, University of Klagenfurt, Austria (1994)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Papazoglou, M.P., Yang, J.: Design methodology for web services and business processes. In: Buchmann, A.P., Casati, F., Fiege, L., Hsu, M.-C., Shan, M.-C. (eds.) TES 2002. LNCS, vol. 2444, pp. 54–64. Springer, Heidelberg (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Papazoglou, M.P., Heuvel, W.V.D.: Service-oriented design and development methodology. Int. J. Web Eng. Technol. 2(4), 412–442 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Feuerlicht, G.: Simple metric for assessing quality of service design. In: Maximilien, E., Rossi, G., Yuan, S.-T., Ludwig, H., Fantinato, M. (eds.) ICSOC 2010. LNCS, vol. 6568, pp. 133–143. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Feuerlicht, G.: Evaluation of quality of design for document-centric software services. In: Ghose, A., Zhu, H., Yu, Q., Delis, A., Sheng, Q.Z., Perrin, O., Wang, J., Wang, Y. (eds.) ICSOC 2012. LNCS, vol. 7759, pp. 356–367. Springer, Heidelberg (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gonzalez, R.R.: A unified metric of software complexity: measuring productivity, quality, and value. J. Syst. Softw. 29(1), 17–37 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Basci, D., Misra, S.: Entropy as a measure of quality of XML schema document. Int. Arab J. Inf. Technol. 8(1), 75–83 (2011)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sindhgatta, R., Sengupta, B., Ponnalagu, K.: Measuring the quality of service oriented design. In: Baresi, L., Chi, C.-H., Suzuki, J. (eds.) ICSOC-ServiceWave 2009. LNCS, vol. 5900, pp. 485–499. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Perepletchikov, M., Ryan, C., Frampton, K.: Cohesion metrics for predicting maintainability of service-oriented software. In: QSIC, pp. 328–335 (2007)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Vinoski, S.: Old measures for new services. IEEE Internet Comput. 9(6), 72–74 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pautasso, C., Zimmermann, O., Leymann, F.: Restful web services vs. big’web services: making the right architectural decision. In: 17th International Conference on World Wide Web. ACM, Beijing, China (2008)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Pautasso, C., Wilde, E.: Why is the web loosely coupled? A multi-faceted metric for service design. In: 18th International Conference on World Wide Web. ACM, Madrid, Spain (2009)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Stevens, W.P., Myers, G.J., Constantine, L.L.: Structured design. IBM Syst. J. 38(2&3), 115–139 (1999)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rumbaugh, J., Blaha, M., Premerlani, W., Eddy, F., Lorensen, W.: Object-Oriented Modeling and Design. Prentice Hall, New Jersey (1991)MATHGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Chidamber, S., Kemerer, C.: A metrics suite for object oriented design. IEEE Trans. Softw. Eng. 20(6), 476–493 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    OTA: OTA Specifications (2010). Accessed 6 May 2010
  21. 21.
    Necaský, M.: Conceptual modeling for XML. Dissertations in Database and Information Systems Series. IOS Press/AKA Verlag (2009)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Pichler, C., Strommer, M., Huemer, C.: Size matters!? Measuring the complexity of xml schema mapping models. In: 2010 6th World Congress on Services (SERVICES-1). IEEE (2010)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    OTA: Open Travel Aliance Specification (2014). (cited 6 May 2014)
  24. 24.
    OASIS Universal Business Language (2014).
  25. 25.
    Glushko, R., McGrath, T.: Document Engineering: Analyzing and Designing Documents for Business Informatics and Web Services. MIT Press Books, Cambridge (2008)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Glushko, R. McGrath, T.: Patterns and reuse in document engineering. In: XML 2002 Proceedings (2002)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Glushko, R.J. McGrath. T.: Document engineering for e-Business. In: Proceedings of the 2002 ACM Symposium on Document Engineering (DocEng 2002), McLean, Virginia, USA. ACM Press, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    ebXML - Enabling A Global Electronic Market (2007). (cited 9 December 2007)
  29. 29.
    Feuerlicht, G., Lozina J.: Understanding service reusability. In: 15th International Conference on Systems Integration 2007. VSE Prague, Prague, Czech Republic (2007)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    McDowell, A., Schmidt, C., Yue, K.B.: Analysis and metrics of XML schema (2004)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Necaský, M. Mlýnková, I.: A framework for efficient design, maintaining, and evolution of a system of XML applications. In: Proceedings of the Databases, Texts, Specifications, and Objects, DATESO 2010, pp. 38–49 (2010)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Necaský, M. Mlýnková, I.: Five-level multi-application schema evolution. In: Proceedings of the Databases, Texts, Specifications, and Objects, DATESO 2009, pp. 213–217 (2009)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Visser, J.: Structure metrics for XML Schema. In: Proceedings of XATA (2006)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Shannon, C.E.: A mathematical theory of communication. ACM SIGMOBILE Mobile Comput. Commun. Rev. 5(1), 3–55 (2001)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Mohanty, S.N.: Entropy metrics for software design evaluation. J. Syst. Softw. 2(1), 39–46 (1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Bansiya, J., Davis, C., Etzkorn, L.: An entropy-based complexity measure for object-oriented designs. Theory Pract. Object Syst. 5(2), 111–118 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Olague, H.M., Etzkorn, L.H., Cox, G.W.: An entropy-based approach to assessing object-oriented software maintainability and degradation-a method and case study. In: Software Engineering Research and Practice. Citeseer (2006)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Ruellan, H.: XML Entropy Study. In: Balisage: The Markup Conference (2012)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Thaw, T.Z., Khin, M.M.: Measuring qualities of XML schema documents. J. Softw. Eng. Appl. 6, 458 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Tang, R., Wu, H., Bressan, S.: Measuring XML structured-ness with entropy. In: Wang, L., Jiang, J., Lu, J., Hong, L., Liu, B. (eds.) WAIM 2011. LNCS, vol. 7142, pp. 113–123. Springer, Heidelberg (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Feuerlicht, G., et al.: Measuring complexity of domain standard specifications using XML schema entropy. In: SOFSEM 2015. CEUR (2015)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Alliance, O.T: OpenTravel™ Alliance XML Schema Design Best Practices (2010). Accessed 1 Sept 2010

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unicorn CollegePrague 3Czech Republic
  2. 2.Prague University of EconomicsPrague 3Czech Republic
  3. 3.University of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia

Personalised recommendations