A case study in repeated maintenance

Shuanglin Wang, Stephen R. Schach*, Gillian Z. Heller

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    RTP is a widely used commercial real-time product that has been maintained over a period of 13 years. We have analyzed multiple versions of RTP, which is written in C and Assembler. We measured increases in dependencies within the code between successive versions and performed statistical analyses on the data. There was no significant difference between the maintenance of Assembler files and C files. Also, there was no significant difference between the versions written by the original developers and those written by maintenance programmers not involved in the original development. The differences between individual programmers were very highly significant. Our interpretation of these results is that the skill of the individual programmer is an important factor in ensuring that a software product remains maintainable over its lifetime and that software engineering education and training are therefore of major importance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)127-141
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Software Maintenance and Evolution
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Coupling
    • Dependencies
    • Maintainer differences
    • Maintainer skills
    • Real-time software
    • Regression faults
    • Ripple faults


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