Is there any formal work attempting to measure ease of maintenance for complex programs, comparing at the programming language level? Are there any formal measures for ease of maintenance, at any level?

I'm looking for a method to obtain formal measurements of ease of maintenance (or any related work) for a pet project.

  • Cyclomatic complexity, perhaps. CC and "ease of maintenance" are inversely related; the more complex code is, the less easy it is to maintain. Sep 17, 2011 at 5:19
  • I saw a link on reddit earlier this summer pointing to a paper showing that of all complexity measures, the one that had the strongest correlation to the number of bugs was lines of code. Other more complex measures were not good indicators of number of bugs. A shame I can't find the paper again, but I'll keep looking.
    – Joh
    Sep 17, 2011 at 8:01
  • 1
    I found the paper again: citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=
    – Joh
    Sep 26, 2011 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


There appears to be some work on it in the form of analysis of Domain Specific Languages, the paper is rather old. Also some more work on C/C++. From a brief scan-through of each paper, it doesn't appear that there's a definite answer but it is being worked on.

  • Disheartening :( Nov 25, 2011 at 4:02
  • I'm surprised by the apparent lack of interest in this topic. There's so much redundancy out there, development tools that isolate in their particular environments, and an implied lack of interoperability between languages / libraries, that studies of this kind should have been more prominent to drive solid decisions in software development. Instead we tend to move with trends and subjective interests. Aug 8, 2020 at 22:54

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