Static Analysis Tools as Early Indicators of Pre-Release Defect Density

Published by Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.

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During software development it is helpful to obtain early estimates of the defect density of software components. Such estimates identify fault-prone areas of code requiring further testing. We present an empirical approach for the early prediction of pre-release defect density based on the defects found using static analysis tools. The defects identified by two different static analysis tools are used to fit and predict the actual pre-release defect density for Windows Server 2003. We show that there exists a strong positive correlation between the static analysis defect density and the pre-release defect density determined by testing. Further, the predicted pre-release defect density and the actual pre-release defect density are strongly correlated at a high degree of statistical significance. Discriminant analysis shows that the results of static analysis tools can be used to separate high and low quality components with an overall classification rate of 82.91%.