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Evolution in software systems: foundations of the SPE classification scheme

Cook, S., Harrison, R., Lehman, M.M. and Wernick, P. (2006) Evolution in software systems: foundations of the SPE classification scheme. Journal of Software Maintenance and Evolution-Research and Practice, 18 (1). pp. 1-35. ISSN 1532-060X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/smr.314


The SPE taxonomy of evolving software systems, first proposed by Lehman in 1980, is re-examined in this work. The primary concepts of software evolution are related to generic theories of evolution, particularly Dawkins' concept of a replicator, to the hermeneutic tradition in philosophy and to Kuhn's concept of paradigm. These concepts provide the foundations that are needed for understanding the phenomenon of software evolution and for refining the definitions of the SPE categories. In particular, this work argues that a software system should be defined as of type P if its controlling stakeholders have made a strategic decision that the system must comply with a single paradigm in its representation of domain knowledge. The proposed refinement of SPE is expected to provide a more productive basis for developing testable hypotheses and models about possible differences in the evolution of E- and P-type systems than is provided by the original scheme. Copyright (C) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:15186
Uncontrolled Keywords:evolution, hermeneutics, information system architecture, paradigm, philosophy of science, replicator, scientific knowledge, software, evolution, software system, ARCHITECTURE, FRAMEWORK

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