Dead code is a bad smell and it appears to be widespread in open-source and commercial software systems. Surprisingly, dead code has received very little empirical attention from the software engineering research community. In this paper, we present a multi-study investigation with an overarching goal to study, from the perspective of researchers and developers, when and why developers introduce dead code, how they perceive and cope with it, and whether dead code is harmful. To this end, we conducted semi-structured interviews with software professionals and four experiments at the University of Basilicata and the College of William Mary. The results suggest that it is worth studying dead code not only in the maintenance and evolution phases, where our results suggest that dead code is harmful, but also in the design and implementation phases. Our results motivate future work to develop techniques for detecting and removing dead code and suggest that developers should avoid this smell.

A Multi-Study Investigation into Dead Code

Romano S.;Scanniello G.;
2020-01-01

Abstract

Dead code is a bad smell and it appears to be widespread in open-source and commercial software systems. Surprisingly, dead code has received very little empirical attention from the software engineering research community. In this paper, we present a multi-study investigation with an overarching goal to study, from the perspective of researchers and developers, when and why developers introduce dead code, how they perceive and cope with it, and whether dead code is harmful. To this end, we conducted semi-structured interviews with software professionals and four experiments at the University of Basilicata and the College of William Mary. The results suggest that it is worth studying dead code not only in the maintenance and evolution phases, where our results suggest that dead code is harmful, but also in the design and implementation phases. Our results motivate future work to develop techniques for detecting and removing dead code and suggest that developers should avoid this smell.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4779799
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