Challenges in software model reuse: cross application domain vs. cross modeling paradigm

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Software reuse is a common practice that aims to reduce costs and effort, while improving quality and productivity. However, it also raises challenges of retrieving existing artifacts and adapting them to the given context. Sometimes, the most relevant artifacts are realized in a different application domain and/or in a different paradigm (e.g., object-oriented vs. data-driven). These challenges are extremely relevant to non-code artifacts, such as models, which are relatively rare, as well as vary in the level of details and quality. In this paper, we aim to explore the challenges and opportunities of cross application domain and cross modeling paradigm model reuse. These types of reuse require different mapping mechanisms (analogy creation and transformation, respectively), but similar adaptation operations (use-as-is, modification, omission and addition). To explore the challenges of these reuse types, we present the design and the results of a series of controlled experiments, involving 64 participants, which analyzed correctness of software model reuse across application domains and across two modeling paradigms: object-oriented expressed in UML use case and class diagrams and data-driven expressed in entity-relationship and data flow diagrams. Our results show that overall cross-domain reuse is more correctly performed than cross-paradigm reuse, especially with respect to addition. We further analyzed the challenges in each reuse type and found that modification and addition in both reuse types are quite challenging and require careful support to meet new or differing requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalEmpirical Software Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Controlled experiment
  • Cross domain
  • Cross paradigm
  • Modeling
  • Software reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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