A hybrid approach for improving the design quality of web service interfaces

Ali Ouni, Hanzhang Wang, Marouane Kessentini, Salah Bouktif, Katsuro Inoue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


A key success of a Web service is to appropriately design its interface to make it easy to consume and understand. In the context of service-oriented computing (SOC), the service's interface is the main source of interaction with the consumers to reuse the service functionality in real-world applications. The SOC paradigm provides a collection of principles and guidelines to properly design services to provide best practice of third-party reuse. However, recent studies showed that service designers tend to pay little care to the design of their service interfaces, which often lead to several side effects known as antipatterns. One of the most common Web service interface antipatterns is to expose a large number of semantically unrelated operations, implementing different abstractions, in one single interface. Such bad design practices may have a significant impact on the service reusability, understandability, as well as the development and run-time characteristics. To address this problem, in this article, we propose a hybrid approach to improve the design quality of Web service interfaces and fix antipatterns as a combination of both deterministic and heuristic-based approaches. The first step consists of a deterministic approach using a graph partitioning-based technique to split the operations of a large service interface into more cohesive interfaces, each one representing a distinct abstraction. Then, the produced interfaces will be checked using a heuristic-based approach based on the non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II) to correct potential antipatterns while reducing the interface design deviation to avoid taking the service away from its original design. To evaluate our approach, we conduct an empirical study on a benchmark of 26 real-world Web services provided by Amazon and Yahoo. Our experiments consist of a quantitative evaluation based on design quality metrics, as well as a qualitative evaluation with developers to assess its usefulness in practice. The results show that our approach significantly outperforms existing approaches and provides more meaningful results from a developer's perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalACM Transactions on Internet Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Antipattern
  • Search-based software engineering
  • Service-oriented computing
  • Web service design
  • Web services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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