Smells in Block-Based Programming Languages

Felienne Hermans, Kathryn Stolee, David Hoepelman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Code smells were originally designed for object-oriented code, but in recent years, have been applied to end-user languages, including spreadsheets and Yahoo! Pipes. In this paper, we explore code smells in block-based end-user programming languages aimed at education. Specifically, we explore the occurrence of smells in two educational languages not previously targeted by smell detection and refactoring research: LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 and Microsoft's Kodu. The results of this exploration show that object-oriented-inspired smells indeed occur in educational end-user languages and are present in 88% and 93% of the EV3 and Kodu programs, respectively. Most commonly we find that programs are plagued with lazy class, duplication, and dead code smells, with duplication smells being present in nearly two-thirds of programs in both languages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2016 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC)
EditorsA. Blackwell, B. Plimmer, G. Stapleton
Place of PublicationDanvers
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5090-0252-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-5090-0253-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event2016 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC 2016 - Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sept 20168 Sept 2016


Conference2016 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, VL/HCC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Programming profession
  • Games
  • Computer languages
  • Robot sensing systems
  • Education


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