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Visualization-based Analysis of Quality
for Large-scale Software Systems

Guillaume Langelier, Houari A. Sahraoui, and Pierre Poulin
Proc. IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering, December 2005
ACM Sigsoft Distinguished Paper Award.


We propose an approach for complex software analysis based on visualization. Our work is motivated by the fact that in spite of years of research and practice, software development and maintenance are still time and resource consuming, and high-risk activities. The most important reason in our opinion is the complexity of many phenomena related to software, such as its evolution and its reliability. In fact, there is very little theory explaining them. Today, we have a unique opportunity to empirically study these phenomena, thanks to large sets of software data available through open-source programs and open repositories. Automatic analysis techniques, such as statistics and machine learning, are usually limited when studying phenomena with unknown or poorlyunderstood influence factors. We claim that hybrid techniques that combine automatic analysis with human expertise through visualization are excellent alternatives to them. In this paper, we propose a visualization framework that supports quality analysis of large-scale software systems. We circumvent the problem of size by exploiting perception capabilities of the human visual system.


Software visualization, metaphor, software quality, metrics.

BibTeX entry

  title     = "Visualization-based Analysis of Quality for Large-scale Software Systems",
  author    = "Guillaume Langelier and Houari A. Sahraoui and Pierre Poulin",
  booktitle = "IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering 2005",
  year      = "2005",
  month     = nov,
  pages     = "214-223"

Online version

PDF version of the paper