Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Patrick Hubbard, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: Java IoT, Industrial IoT

Java IoT: Article

How OpenKM's Technical Debt Decreased by 49% Through Code Refactoring

Initial Technical Debt of the project reduced from 84 to 42 days of remediation

Technical Debt is worth nothing if no pragmatic action is taken into code, in order to control and tackle it. To ilustrate the Scertify's capability to automatically correct code defects that increase this unintended debt, we performed code refactoring on OpenKM, an Free/Libre document management system. The initial Technical Debt of the project has been reduced by 49.2% from 84 days to 42 days. Here, at Tocea, we call it the Debt Write-Off.

For this first Debt Write-Off, we have decided to perform the refactoring of OpenKM (6.2.1-DEV).

According to Wikipedia, OpenKM is a Free/Libre document management system that provides a web interface for managing arbitrary files. OpenKM is a great tool but an audit of the code revealed some technical debt problems. That was a good opportunity to use Scertify and to be useful to an open-source community. The application consists mainly in 200K lines of code of Java. There is also Javascript, JSP, CSS... but we focus here on the Java code.

Technical debt before refactoring

Scertify Refactoring Assessment allows us to estimate the technical debt of the application. As you can see on screenshot #1, it is estimated to 84 days. This is the time needed to correct manually each error. This number only includes the time needed to make the change on the code, it does not include things like finding the file, understanding the problem, etc.

Of this 84 days, 60 represent errors that can be automatically refactored, thus taking nearly zero effort to correct.

We can take a closer look on the possibilities of automation (screenshot #2). Not all rules are currently implemented in Scertify, but we are working on it. For this project, we chose 7 rules that seemed particularly interesting.

Rules used for the refactoring

Here's a presentation of the rules used to perform the refactoring of OpenKM.

  • AvoidPrintStackTrace

    This rule reports a violation when it finds a code that catch an expression and print its stack trace to the standard error output. A logging framework should be used instead, in order to improve application's maintainability.
    The refactoring replace a call to print stack trace by a call to a logging framework. The rule can also declare the logger in the class and make the required imports. The rule can be configured to use the user's favorite framework.

    Here's the configuration used for OpenKM:

    • The logger call to use: "log.error({0}.getMessage(), {0})" {0} is replaced by the exception.
    • Do not refactor calls of printStackTrace to other IO (a file, a stream...)
    • Make logger declaration when it's needed (ie: log is not already declared in class).
    • The logger declaration to use : "private static Logger log = LoggerFactory.getLogger({0}.class);"
    • The required imports : "org.slf4j.LoggerFactory,org.slf4j.Logger"

    Original code :

    view source print? 1.catch(FileNotFoundExceptione){ e.printStackTrace(); }
  • Refactored code :

    view source print? 1.catch(FileNotFoundExceptione){ log.error(e.getMessage(),e); }
  • AddEmptyStringToConvert

    Using the concatenation of an empty string to convert a primitive type to a String is a bad practice. First of all, it makes the code less readable. It is also less efficient in most cases (the only case where the string concatenation is slightly better is when the primitive is final).

    Original code:

    view source print? 1.UserActivity.log(session.getUserID(), "DELETE_PROCESS_DEFINITION",""+processDefinitionId, null,null);

    Refactored code:

    view source print? 1.UserActivity.log(session.getUserID(), "DELETE_PROCESS_DEFINITION", String.valueOf(processDefinitionId),null,null);
  • InefficientConstructorCall

    Calling the constructor of a wrapper type, like Integer, to convert a primitive type is a bad practice. It is less efficient than calling the static method valueOf.

    Original code:

    view source print? 1.users.put(usersRead[i].getString(), newInteger(Permission.READ));

    Refactored code:

    view source print? 1.users.put(usersRead[i].getString(), newInteger(Permission.READ));
  • IfElseStmtsMustUseBraces

    This rule finds if statements that don't use braces. The refactoring adds required braces.

  • PositionLiteralsFirstInComparisonsRefactor

    This rule checks that literals are in the first position in comparisons. The following code is a violation :

    Original code:

    view source print? 1.if(action.equals("ruleList"))

    Refactored code:

    view source print? 1.if("ruleList".equals(action))

    The refactoring invert the literal and the variable. This ensures that the code cannot crash due to the variable being a null pointer.

  • MethodArgumentCouldBeFinal

    This method flags method's arguments that could be declared final and are not. The use of the final keyword is a useful information for future code readers.

  • LocalVariableCouldBeFinal

    The purpose is the same as the previous rule, except that it treats local variable and not arguments. These two rules are not critical, but since they have a huge number of violations, it is useful to get rid of them quickly with automatic refactoring.

We are now ready to perform the refactoring with Scertify.

    The refactoring process

    The refactoring process consists of two steps :

  1. Configure a xml rule repository: The first step is crucial. As we have seen in previous section, some rules need to be configured to be useful. However, it shouldn't take more than half an hour.
  2. Run Scertify to perform the refactoring: The second step is just a command line invocation, where you specify the project to refactor and the rule repository to use.

For this project of 200K lines of code, the refactoring took 2 minute. You can check the process on a smaller project in this video tutorial.

Technical debt after refactoring
Screenshot #3 is the analysis of the refactored project by Scertify Refactoring Assessment. As you can see, 24 days of technical debt have been erased.

Screenshot #4 and #5 show the difference of violations in Sonar between the original and the refactored project.

Here's the number of violations that have been corrected for each rule (*) :

  • AddEmptyStringToConvert: 232
  • AvoidPrintStackTrace: 70
  • InefficientConstructorCall: 43
  • IFElseStmtsMustUseBraces: 411
  • PositionLiteralsFirstInComparisons: 358
  • MethodArgumentCouldBeFinal: 8848
  • LocalVariableCouldBeFinal : 7622

To sum up, with Scertify we've been able to correct quickly a huge number of errors. Some of them are not critical (like MethodArgumentCouldBeFinal) but we've also been able to refactor more evolved errors like AvoidPrintStackTrace, AddEmptyStringToConvert,...

Download the source files

(*) if you do the math, you'll see that more errors have been corrected. It's due to side effects of the refactoring (correcting a rule can remove violations of other rules) and also because we manually corrected few things in the code.

Submit your project for a Debt Write-Off

If you're interested in submitting your project to the next Debt Write-off, or just give some valuable feedback... Please contact us on Twitter: @Scertify

More Stories By Michael Muller

Michael Muller, a Marketing Manager at Tocea, has 10+ years of experience as a Marketing and Communication Manager. He specializes in technology and innovative companies. He is executive editor at http://dsisionnel.com, a French IT magazine and the creator of http://d8p.it, a cool URL shortener. Dad of two kids.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a mu...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nihon Micron will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nihon Micron Co., Ltd. strives for technological innovation to establish high-density, high-precision processing technology for providing printed circuit board and metal mount RFID tags used for communication devices. For more inf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Mobile Create USA will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Mobile Create USA Inc. is an MVNO-based business model that uses portable communication devices and cellular-based infrastructure in the development, sales, operation and mobile communications systems incorporating GPS capabi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Daiya Industry specializes in orthotic support systems and assistive devices with pneumatic artificial muscles in order to contribute to an extended healthy life expectancy. For more information, please visit https://www.daiyak...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusic will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Fusic Co. provides mocks as virtual IoT devices. You can customize mocks, and get any amount of data at any time in your test. For more information, visit https://fusic.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Keisoku Research Consultant Co. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Keisoku Research Consultant, Co. offers research and consulting in a wide range of civil engineering-related fields from information construction to preservation of cultural properties. For more information, vi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Corporation is a company developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality and wide variety of industrial computers and interface modules such as PCIs and PCI express. For more information, visit http://www.i...
Elon Musk is among the notable industry figures who worries about the power of AI to destroy rather than help society. Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, embraces all that is going on. AI is most powerful when deployed across the vast networks being built for Internets of Things in the manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail, healthcare, government and other sectors. Is AI transforming IoT for the good or the bad? Do we need to worry about its potential destructive power? Or will we...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enroute Lab will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enroute Lab is an industrial design, research and development company of unmanned robotic vehicle system. For more information, please visit http://elab.co.jp/.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Greg Gorman is the Director, IoT Developer Ecosystem, Watson IoT, will provide a short tutorial on Node-RED, a Node.js-based programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways. It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using a wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click. There is a large library of contributed nodes that help so...