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When programmers perform maintenance tasks, program understanding is often required. One of the first activities in understanding a software system is identifying its subsystems and their relations, i.e., its software architecture. Since a large part of the effort is spent in creating a mental model of the system under study, tools can help maintainers in managing the evolution of legacy systems by showing them architectural information.
This paper describes an environment for the architectural recovery of software systems called the architectural recovery tool (ART). The environment is based on a hierarchical architectural model that drives the application of a set of recognizers, each producing a different architectural view of a system or of some of its parts. Recognizers embody knowledge about architectural clichés and use flow analysis techniques to make their output more accurate.
To test the accuracy and effectiveness of the ART, a suite of public domain applications containing interesting architectural organizations was selected as a benchmark. Results are presented by showing ART performance in terms of precision and recall of the architectural concept retrieval process.
The results obtained show that cliché-based architectural recovery is feasible and the recovered information can be valuable support in reengineering and maintenance activities.
Yann-Gaël Guéhéneuc, 2013/09/06
In this paper, the authors introduce the problem of architecture recovery. They also recall the problem of identifying the connections among components. To recover components and their connections, they devise a hierarchical component model and adapt the taxonomy of inter-process connectors (IPC) first proposed by Dean and Cordy to describe the possible connections among components. The connections can be:
This set of types of connections can account for the interactions among components in simultaneous mixed-language software systems (SIMILAS) through the “shared-file”, “shared-memory”, and “remote procedure call” connections. It is also possible that SIMILAS use “stream” and “message” connection types. Yet, in the context of SIMILAS, it seems that some types of connections must be considered as one, e.g, “shared-file” and “shared-memory”, while other should be introduced to account for possible details: interactions through a shared virtual machine, through invoked interpreters, through plug-ins, and others.
The hierarchical component model is not recursive, meaning that it is truly hierarchical, while components at different level of abstraction can probably implement the same type of connections. The clichés illustrated in the paper are similar to implementation patterns in that they are described in terms of constituents of abstract-syntax trees (ASTs).