9 Citations (Scopus)


Since software refactoring techniques were introduced, the process is commonly applied to alter the structure of source code. However, there is also increasing popularity in the topic of refactoring in other software artifacts at non-source code level. This paper provides a systematic literature review of existing studies in non-source code refactoring. We use two digital libraries as publication source, IEEExplore and Science Direct, to obtain published articles in non-source code refactoring topic published in between 2002 - 2014 with certain keywords. The 20 selected literatures then processed based on certain criteria, including the refactoring method and refactoring identification source. Then we use this information to provide categorization of non-source code refactoring activity and the advantages and disadvantages of each category. The systematic literature review performed has provided categorization of non-source code refactoring method and has shown that each method has certain advantages and disadvantages. Refactoring detection at non-source code level can be done in the software design model, source code with non-conventional detection, and other software artifacts. The methods used can be categorized as heuristic method, where the refactoring identification is done based on certain rules, and non-heuristic method, where the refactoring identification is done with a certain algoritm that explores every possibility of refactoring opportunities. The advantage of heuristic method is the speed and precision. The disadvantage of this method is the needed effort to produce the rules and the possibility of the non optimal result. The advantage of non-heuristic method is it can yield a generally more optimal result. The disadvantage of non-heuristic method is that the result depends strongly on the robustness of each algorithm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-214
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Software Engineering and its Applications
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • High level refactoring
  • Non-source code refactoring
  • Software refactoring


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