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Understanding architectural characteristics of software components that constitute distributed systems is crucial for maintaining and evolving them. One component framework heavily used for developing component-based software systems is Microsoft's COM+. In this paper we particularly concentrate on the analysis of COM+ components and introduce an iterative and interactive approach that combines component inspection techniques with source code analysis to obtain a complete abstract model of each COM+ component. The model describes important architectural characteristics such as transactions, security, and persistency, as well as creating and use dependencies between components, and maps these higher-level concepts down to their implementation in source files. Based on the model, engineers can browse the software system's COM+ components and navigate from the list of architectural characteristics to the corresponding source code statements. We also discuss the Island Hopper application with which our approach has been validated.
Date of Conference: 10-11 May 2003