Software Reuse: Developers’ Experiences and Perceptions
William W. Agresti
DOI: 10.4236/jsea.2011.41006   PDF    HTML     9,854 Downloads   18,632 Views   Citations


Reusing programs and other artifacts has been shown to be an effective strategy for significant reduction of development costs. This article reports on a survey of 128 developers to explore their experiences and perceptions about using other people’s code: to what extent does the “not invented here” attitude exist? The survey was structured around a novel and simple “4A” model, which is introduced in this article: for an organization to obtain any benefits from reusing code, four conditions must obtain: availability, awareness, accessibility, and acceptability. The greatest impediments to reuse were shown to be awareness of reusable code and developers’ perceptions of its acceptability for use on their new projects. For 72% of developers, the complexity of the old code was cited as a reason that the code was not reused. The survey also included developers’ suggestions for ways to take greater advantage of existing code and related artifacts.

Share and Cite:

W. Agresti, "Software Reuse: Developers’ Experiences and Perceptions," Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2011, pp. 48-58. doi: 10.4236/jsea.2011.41006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] V. Mellarkod, R. Appan, D. Jones and K. Sherif, “A Multi-level Analysis of Factors Affecting Software Developers’ Intention to Reuse Software Assets: An Investigation,” Information & Management, Vol. 44, No. 7, 2007, pp. 613-625. doi:10.1016/
[2] W. Agresti and F. McGarry, “Minnowbrook Workshop on Software Reuse: A Summary Report,” W. Tracz, Ed., Software Reuse: Emerging Technology, Computer Society Press, Washington DC, 1988, pp. 33-40.
[3] Y. Kim and E. Stohr, “Software Reuse: Survey and Research Directions,” Journal of Management Information System, Vol. 14, No. 4, 1998, pp. 113-147.
[4] W. Frakes and K. Kang, “Software Reuse Research: Status and Future,” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Vol. 31, No. 7, 2005, pp. 529-536. doi:10.1109/ TSE.2005.85
[5] P. Mohagheghi and R. Conradi, “Quality, Productivity and Economic Benefits of Software Reuse: A Review of Industrial Studies,” Empirical Software Engineering, Vol. 12, No. 5, 2007, pp. 471-516.doi:10.1007/s10664-007- 9040-x
[6] D. Card, V. Church and W. Agresti, “An Empirical Study of Software Design Practices,” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1986, pp. 264-271.
[7] R. Selby, “Enabling Reuse-based Software Development of Large-scale Systems,” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Vol. 31, No. 6, 2005, pp. 495-510. doi: 10.1109/TSE.2005.69
[8] W. Lim, “Effect of Reuse on Quality, Productivity and Economics,” IEEE Software, Vol. 11, No. 5, 1994, pp. 23-30. doi:10.1109/52.311048
[9] A. Tomer, L. Goldin, T. Kuflik, E. Kimchi and S. Schach, “Evaluating Software Reuse Alternatives: A Model and its Application to an Industrial Case Study,” IEEE Tran- sactions on Software Engineering, Vol. 30, No. 9, 2004, pp. 601-612. doi:10.1109/TSE.2004.50
[10] S. Morad and T. Kuflik, “Conventional and Open Source Software Reuse at Orbotech—An Industrial Experience,” Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Software, Science, Technology and Engineering, Herzlia, February 2005, pp. 110-117. doi:10.1109/SWSTE.2005.11
[11] K. Sherif and A. Vinze, “Barriers to Adoption of Software Reuse,” Information & Management, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2003, pp. 159-175. doi:10.1016/S0378-7206(03)00045-4
[12] W. Boh, “Reuse of Knowledge Assets from Repositories: A Mixed Methods Study,” Information & Management, Vol. 45, No. 6, 2008, pp. 363-375. doi:10.1016/ 2008.06.001
[13] W. Agresti and F. McGarry, “Defining Leverage Points for Increasing Reuse,” Paper Presented at the Minnowbrook Workshop on Software Reuse, Blue Mountain Lake, New York, 1987.
[14] W. Tracz, “Confessions of a Used-Program Salesman,” W. Tracz, Ed., Software Reuse: Emerging Technology, Computer Society Press, Washington DC, 1988, pp. 92-95.
[15] K. Desouza, Y. Awazu and A. Tiwana, “Four Dynamics for Bringing Use Back into Software Reuse,” Communications of the ACM, Vol. 49, No. 1, 2006, pp. 97-100. doi:10.1145/1107458.1107461
[16] W. Agresti, “Knowledge Management,” Advances in Computers, Vol. 53, No. 1, 2000, pp. 171-283. doi:10. 1016/S0065-2458(00)80006-6

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.