Modeling history to understand software evolution

Over the past three decades, more and more research has been spent on understanding software evolution. However, the approaches developed so far rely on ad-hoc models, or on too specific meta-models, and thus, it is difficult to reuse or compare their results. We argue for the need of an explicit and generic meta-model that recognizes evolution as an explicit phenomenon and models it as a first class entity. Our solution is to encapsulate the evolution in the explicit notion of history as a sequence of versions, and to build a meta-model around these notions called Hismo. To show the usefulness of our meta-model we exercise its different characteristics by building several reverse engineering applications.

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