These file attachments have been under embargo and were made available to the public after the embargo was lifted on 11 May 2012.
Software design erosion is a well known process; however, once it becomes noticeable it may already have progressed so far that repairing it is difficult and costly. Design conformance assessment techniques can help developers to detect – and mitigate – the effects of design erosion, before they cause problems to the long-term maintainability of software systems. Existing techniques have already been proven successful in controlled cases, but are not yet ready for widespread adoption in production environments.
This thesis studies the requirements and effects in the context of a real-world production environment and serves as a step towards making design conformance assessment techniques an economically viable investment for businesses. The contributions of this thesis are: an evaluation of the maturity of existing techniques, an inventarisation of requirements that arise from business environments with respect to design conformance assessment, and the implementation of the SharpDCA prototype tool that was evaluated in an ongoing development project.