Featured Scents: Towards Assessing ArchitecturalSmells for Self-Adaptive Systems at Runtime



Self-adaptive systems (SAS) change their behavior and structure at runtime to answer the changes in their environment. Such systems combine different architectural fragments or solutions via feature binding/unbinding at runtime. Moreover, this combination may negatively impact the system's architectural qualities, exhibiting architectural bad smells (ABS). These issues are challenging to detect in the code due to the combinatorial explosion of interactions amongst features. Since SAS does not document these features in their source code, design time smell detection ignores them and risks reporting smells that are different than those observed at runtime. This paper assesses this risk to understand how ABS occurs at runtime for different feature combinations. We look for cyclic dependency and hub-like ABS in various runtime adaptations of two SAS, Adasim and mRubis. Our results indicate that architectural smells are feature-dependent and that their number is highly variable from one adaptation to the other. Some ABS appear in all runtime adaptations, some in only a few. We discuss the reasons behind these architectural smells for each system and motivate the need for targeted ABS analyses in SAS.
Date made available2022

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