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A study about the impact of code annotations in software evolution


Code annotations are a Java programming language feature that allows you to introduce metadata into code elements, such as methods and classes. The annotations were introduced in version 5 and are used extensively by applications, primarily in frameworks and APIs for enterprise applications. However, few studies investigate the impact of annotations on software maintenance. This research project intends to attack this problem in 3 distinct fronts: (a) historical analysis of open source projects and INPE projects to evaluate the evolution of annotations within the code; (b) execution of experiments that evaluate the understanding of similar codes with and without annotations; and (c) creation of a tool that uses metrics and software visualization to allow the evaluation of annotations usage within a project. From these results, it will be possible to study the impacts that code annotations bring to software evolution, allowing to identify good and bad practices in the use of this programming language feature, as well as to provide a tool that facilitates this analysis in real projects. The tool developed will be applied in software developed by INPE, bringing direct benefits to the teams that use it. (AU)

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