SmartCLIDE design pattern assistant: A decision-tree based approach
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  • Authors: Eleni Polyzoidou, Evangelia Papagiannaki, Nikolaos Nikolaidis, Apostolos Ampatzoglou, Nikolaos Mittas, Elvira Maria Arvanitou, Alexander Chatzigeorgiou, George Manolis, Evdoxia Manganopoulou
  • Location: Wiley Online Library

Abstract:

Design patterns are well-known solutions to recurring design problems that are widely adopted in the software industry, either as formal means of communication or as a way to improve structural quality, enabling proper software extension. However, the adoption and correct instantiation of patterns is not a trivial task and requires substantial design experience. Some patterns are conceptually close or present similar design alternatives, leading novice developers to improper pattern selection, thereby reducing maintainability. Additionally, the mis-instantiation of a GoF (Gang-of-Four) design pattern, leads to phenomena such as pattern grime or architecture decay. To alleviate this problem, in this work we propose an approach that can help software engineers to more easily and safely select the proper design pattern, for a given design problem. The approach relies on decision trees, which are constructed using domain knowledge, while options are conveyed to software engineers through an Eclipse Theia plugin. To assess the usefulness and the perceived benefits of the approach, as well as the usability of the tool support, we have conducted an industrial validation study, using various data collection methods, such as questionnaires, focus groups, and task analysis. The results of the study suggest that the proposed approach is promising, since it increases the probability of the proper pattern being selected, and various useful future work suggestions have been obtained by the practitioners.

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