Software Metrics

Imagix 4D makes a wide range of quantitative measurements about the various symbols that make up your software, ranging from functions up to classes, files and even the subsystems making up an architecture.

Initially, you can use these software metrics to identify potential problem areas in your code, such as where the size, design or complexity of the code make understanding, enhancement or testing difficult. By tracking the metrics over time, during a development effort, you're able to measure the progress of your development effort and to identify potential quality problems early, when they more easily corrected. The use of software metrics complements the use of source checks to improve the overall quality of your software and process.

Metrics Windows

The primary displays for analysing the software metrics are the Metrics windows. Available as tabs in the Main panel, there is a separate window for each type of symbol whose metric Imagix 4D generates - directory, file, namespace, class, function and variable. In addition, there is a seperate window for each of the architectures you have defined, where you can analyze the subsystems specific to that architecture.

Within these Metrics windows, you can list, sort, compare and rank all the symbols of that given specific type. Imagix 4D collects a wide range of software metrics for each symbol type, and withing each Metrics window, you're able to specify which of these metrics you want to view.

Format alternatives let you select a display style that supports your analysis. Color-coding indicates where a given metric lies with respect to an upper and lower threshold.

These thresholds can be set in the Metrics windows themselves (Display > Thresholds) or through the general Options dialog (Files > Options > Metrics > Thresholds). The same thresholds are used for displaying the metrics in the Graph window and elsewhere throughout Imagix 4D. You can set these thresholds to reflect the norms of your organization.

Other Metrics Displays

Comparison of metrics values can also be made in the Graph windows. For many of the graph views, there is a setting available through the Display menu to color each graph symbol according to its value for a specific metric. When selecting a metric, you can also choose whether the colors indicate relative values among the symbols displayed in the graph, or reflect each symbol's value compared to the thresholds that you have determined. In the case of relative values, the current range are displayed at the bottom of the graph.

In several other displays, the metrics for a single symbol appear. The most comprehensive and most visual of these is the Metrics tab in the Symbol panel. Through the Options dialog (Files > Options > Metrics > Selection), you control which metrics to display for a given symbol type. The display includes both the absolute value of the metric and a histogram indicating how that value compares to the thresholds described above.