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Tool support for just-in-time architecture reconstruction and evaluation: an experience report

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2 Author(s)
Gorton, I. ; Empirical Software Eng. Group, National ICT Australia, Australia ; Liming Zhu

The need for software architecture evaluation has drawn considerable attention. In practice, this is a challenging exercise for two main reasons. First, in deployed projects, software architecture documentation is often not readily available, and may not be a correct representation of the as built architecture. Second, large software systems have numerous potential views of the various architecturally significant structures in the system. In this paper, we assess the capabilities of software reverse engineering and architecture reconstruction tools to support just-in-time architecture reconstruction. If an application's architecture can be reconstructed efficiently, this could promote more effective architecture reviews and evaluations. We describe our experiences in leveraging multiple reconstruction tools and how these guided the choice of design artifacts to construct. We discovered that the tools complemented each other in identifying reconstruction scope, critical architectural elements, potential design irregularities and creating useful architectural views for different evaluation tasks. With the help of these tools, the reconstruction and evaluation effort was significantly streamlined and productive. Finally, we also report some potential improvements these tools could make.

Published in:

Software Engineering, 2005. ICSE 2005. Proceedings. 27th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

15-21 May 2005