experimental software engineering

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Barišić, A., V. Amaral, and M. Goulão, "Usability Evaluation of Domain-Specific Languages", Simpósio de Estudantes de Doutoramento em Engenharia de Software (SEDES 2012), hosted by QUATIC 2012, Lisbon, Portugal, IEEE CPS, 3 Sep., 2012. Abstractbarisic2012sedes.pdf

Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) are claimed to bring important productivity improvements to developers,
when compared to General-Purpose Languages (GPLs). The increased Usability is regarded as one of the key benefits of DSLs when compared to GPLs, and has an important impact on the achieved productivity of the DSL users. So, it is essential to build in good usability while developing the DSL. The purpose of this proposal is to contribute to the systematic activity of Software Language Engineering by focusing on the
issue of the Usability evaluation of DSLs. Usability evaluation is often skipped, relaxed, or at least omitted from papers reporting development of DSLs. We argue that a systematic approach based on User Interface experimental validation techniques should be used to assess the impact of new DSLs. For that purpose, we propose to merge common Usability evaluation processes with the DSL development process. In order to provide reliable metrics and tools we should reuse and identify good practices that exist in Human-Computer
Interaction community.

Barišić, A., V. Amaral, M. Goulão, and B. Barroca, "Evaluating the Usability of Domain-Specific Languages", Formal and Practical Aspects of Domain-Specific Languages: Recent Developments: IGI Global, 2012. Abstract

We can regard Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) as User Interfaces (UIs) because they bridge the gap
between the domain experts and the computation platforms. Usability of DSLs by domain experts is a key
factor for their successful adoption. The few reports supporting improvement claims are persuasive, but
mostly anecdotal. Systematic literature reviews show that evidences on the effects of the introduction of
DSLs are actually very scarce. In particular, the evaluation of usability is often skipped, relaxed, or at
least omitted from papers reporting the development of DSLs. The few exceptions mostly take place at
the end of the development process, when fixing problems is already too expensive. A systematic
approach, based on techniques for the experimental evaluation of UIs, should be used to assess suitability
of new DSLs. This chapter presents a general experimental evaluation model, tailored for DSLs’
experimental evaluation, and instantiates it in several DSL’s evaluation examples.

Goulão, M., N. Fonte, M. Wermelinger, and F. B. Abreu, "Software Evolution Prediction Using Seasonal Time Analysis: a Comparative Study", 16th European Conference on Software Maintenance and Reengineering (CSMR 2012), Szeged, Hungary, IEEE Computer Society, 30 Mar., 2012. Abstract



Prediction models of software change requests are useful for supporting rational and timely resource
allocation to the evolution process. In this paper we use a time series forecasting model to predict software
maintenance and evolution requests in an open source software project (Eclipse), as an example of projects with seasonal release cycles. We build an ARIMA model based on data collected from Eclipse’s change request tracking system since the project’s start. A change request may refer to defects found in the software, but also to suggested improvements in the system under scrutiny. Our model includes the identification of seasonal patterns and tendencies, and is validated through the forecast of the change requests evolution for the next 12 months. The usage of seasonal information significantly improves the estimation ability of this model, when compared to other ARIMA models found in the literature, and does so for a much longer estimation period. Being able to accurately forecast the change requests’ evolution over a fairly long time period is an important ability for enabling adequate process control in maintenance activities, and facilitates
effort estimation and timely resources allocation. The approach presented in this paper is suitable for projects with a relatively long history, as the model building process relies on historic data.

Monteiro, R., J. Araújo, V. Amaral, M. Goulão, and P. Patrício, "Model-Driven Development for Requirements Engineering: The Case of Goal-Oriented Approaches", 8th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology (QUATIC 2012), Lisbon, Portugal, IEEE CPS, 2012. Abstractquatic2012-full-crmg.pdf

Goal-Oriented Requirements Engineering (GORE) has received increasing attention over the past few years.
There are several goal-oriented approaches, each one using different kinds of models. We argue that it would be useful to relate them or even perform transformations among them automatically, in order to understand their similarities and differences, their advantages and disadvantages, allowing a possible migration or comparison between approaches. This is something that has not received enough attention. In this paper
we propose the definition and implementation of goal model transformations between i* and KAOS. As an immediate contribution, the approach can be used to migrate from one goal model to another through automatic model transformations. This approach also contributes to relate the concepts of i* and KAOS models and will help, for example, a development team in making the decision on which approach to follow, according to the nature of the project and the expressiveness of an approach to represent certain concepts
(e.g., obstacles are represented explicitly in KAOS, but not in i*). Another contribution is to facilitate communication among members of the same team, if they are specialized in different approaches.

Barišić, A., V. Amaral, M. Goulão, and B. Barroca, "Quality in Use of DSLs: Current Evaluation Methods", 3rd INForum - Simpósio de Informática (INForum2011), Coimbra, Portugal, 8-9 Sep., 2011. Abstractinforum_2011_submission_174.pdf

Domain Speci c Languages (DSLs) are claimed to contribute
to increment productivity, while reducing the required maintenance and
programming expertise. In this context, the usability of these languages
becomes a major issue: if the language is not easy to learn and use, it is
unlikely to be successfully adopted.

It is important to foster high quality DSLs during its engineering process.
We argue that a systematic approach based on User Interface Experi-
mental validation techniques should be used to assess the impact of the
introduction of DSLs in the productivity of DSL user. Productivity can
be fostered by assessing important usability attributes early in the lan-
guage construction . This work's contribution, besides highlighting the
problem of the absence of systematic approaches for experimental vali-
dation of DSLs in general, is to identify existing evaluation approaches
that can be adapted from the eld of User Interfaces.