Quantifying the evolution of TTCN-3 as a language

Abstract

Ten years of maintenance, nine published revisions of the standards for the Testing and Test Control Notation version 3 (TTCN-3), more than 500 change requests since 2006, and 10 years of activity on the official TTCN-3 mailing list add up to a rich history, not unlike that of many successful Open Source Software (OSS) projects. In this article, we contemplate TTCN-3 in the context of software evolution and examine its history quantitatively. We mined the changes in the textual content of the standards, the data in change requests from the past 5 years, and the mailing list archives from the past 10 years. In addition, to characterize the use of the TTCN-3 we investigated the meta-data of the contributions at the TTCN-3 User Conference, and the use of language constructs in a large-scale TTCN-3 test suite. Based on these data sets, we first analyze the amount, density, and location of changes within the different parts of the standard. Then, we analyze the activity and focus of the user community and the maintenance team in both the change request management system and the official TTCN-3 mailing list. Finally, we analyze the distribution of contributions at the TTCN-3 User Conference across different topics over the past 8 years and construct use anomalies during the development of a large-scale test suite. Our findings indicate that the TTCN-3 is becoming increasingly stable as the overall change density and intensity, as well as the number of change requests are decreasing, despite the monotonous increase in the size of the standards.
Keywords: 
TTCN-3, Language evolution, Data mining, Repository mining, Quantitative analysis
Document Type: 
Journal Articles
Journal: 
International Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer (STTT)
Volume: 
16
Number: 
3
Pages: 
227-246
Year: 
2014
Note: 
First Online: 10 July 2013
DOI: 
10.1007/s10009-013-0282-1
2011 © Software Engineering For Distributed Systems Group

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