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Part VII: Usable Objects > Efficient Objects

Chapter 47. Efficient Objects

Engineering is based on measurement. A bridge has to be long enough to span the river and strong enough to support a specified static load. It must have the structural stability to cope with maximum expected wind velocities and to remain standing after tremors of a certain magnitude. Measurement is no less important in software engineering, yet software metrics are still often regarded as an advanced or esoteric subject of interest primarily to academics seeking research grants or defense contractors meeting government paperwork quotas.

Software metrics are a matter of putting things into numbers, hence they can be based on almost anything that can be counted, rated, or ranked. The best known metrics are measures of program size or complexity. On the simple and straightforward end of the spectrum is the venerable count of code length, which has, over time, become inflated into KLOC, thousands of lines of code. On the other end of the spectrum are function points and feature points and their other elaborately institutionalized kin. The more sophisticated metrics each have their advantages and their adherents, but when all the rhetoric and research is said and done, for many purposes, just counting classes or methods can be worth almost as much as the most elaborate and theoretically informed measurement scheme.


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