Investigating instability architectural smells evolution: an exploratory case study

Darius Sas, Paris Avgeriou, Francesca Arcelli Fontana

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
154 Downloads (Pure)


Architectural smells may substantially increase maintenance effort and thus require extra attention for potential refactoring. While we currently understand this concept and have identified different types of such smells, we have not yet studied their evolution in depth. This is necessary to inform their prioritisation and refactoring. This study analyses the evolution of individual architectural smell instances over time, and the characteristics that define these instances. Three different types of architectural smells are taken into consideration and mined from a total of 524 versions across 14 different projects. The results show how different smell types differ in multiple aspects, such as their growth rate, the importance of the affected elements over time in the dependency network of the system, and the time each instance affects the system. They also cast valuable insights on what aspects are the most important to consider during prioritisation and refactoring activities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication35th International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event35th International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution - Cleveland, OH, United States
Duration: 30-Sep-20194-Oct-2019


Conference35th International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution
CountryUnited States
CityCleveland, OH


  • architectural smells
  • technical debt
  • software architecture
  • empirical study

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