n South African Computer Journal - : a formalism for describing and reusing software experience : research article

Volume 2002, Issue 29
  • ISSN : 1015-7999
  • E-ISSN: 2313-7835



Software reuse has been claimed to be one of the most promising approaches to enhance programmer productivity and software quality. One of the problems to be addresses to achieve high software reuse is organizing databases of software experience, in which information on software products and processes is stored and organized to enhance reuse. This paper presents a new approach to define and construct such databases called the Reuse Description Formalism (RDF). The formalism is a generalization of the faceted index approach to classification in the sense that it provides facilities to define facets, terms, and object descriptions. Unlike the faceted approach, objects in RDF can be described in terms of different sets of faceted and in terms of other object descriptions. This allows a software library to contain different classes of objects, to represent various types of relations among these classes. RDF incorporates a similarity-based retrieval mechanism that helps a reuser locate candidate reuse objects that best match the specifications of the target object. Similarity between two objects is quantified by a non-magnitude called similarity distance, which represents the estimated amount of effort required to construct one given the other. Because of this, similarity distances are not necessarily symmetric.

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