Category:Halstead Metrics

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In Elements of Software Science, M.H. Halstead developed a theory that deduces a program production and quality characteristics from a small number of parameters: the numbers of operands and operators used in the software component.


The Halstead theory is based on the following four textual metrics:

  • n1 the number of distinct operators used in a function.
  • N1 the total number of operators used in a function.
  • n2 the number of distinct operands used in a function.
  • N2 the total number of operands used in a function.


Halstead established and later validated many examples based on these metrics, rules that govern a program length, its volume, the implementation level of an algorithm or the language level of the program used.

Then Halstead suggests to use these rules to assess or plan for development time, the time requested to understand software or the number of possible errors.


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