Section: New Results

Reverse Engineering

Model Driven Reverse Engineering (MDRE), and its applications such as software modernization, is a discipline in which model-driven development (MDD) techniques are used to treat legacy systems. During this year, Atlanmod has continued working actively on this research area. The main contributions are the following:

  • In the context of the ARTIST FP7 project, the work has started on reusing (and extending accordingly) MoDisco and several of its components to provide the Reverse Engineering support required within the project. More particularly, the MoDisco Model Discovery + Model Understanding two-step approach is being promoted as an important part of the ARTIST migration methodology and process [35][19] . Work has also been performed, in the context of the TEAP FUI project dealing with Enterprise Architecture, on how to design and implement a model driven federation approach from heterogeneous data sources (e.g. Excel files, databases, etc.) directly inspiring from these same MoDisco principles [20] .

  • In order to react to the ever-changing market, every organization needs to periodically reevaluate and evolve its company policies. These policies must be enforced by its Information System (IS) by means of a set of so-called business rules that drive the system behavior and data. Clearly, policies and rules must be aligned at all times but unfortunately this is a challenging task. In most ISs, the implementation of business rules is scattered among the different components of the system, therefore appropriate techniques must be provided for the discovery and evolution of changing business rules. In [39] , [25] , [26] , we describe a MDRE framework and tool aiming at extracting business rules out of COBOL source code. In [27] , we describe a Model-based process and tool to extract business rules, expressed as OCL integrity constraints, from relational databases. In these works, the use of modeling techniques facilitate the representation of the rules at a higher-abstraction level which enables stakeholders to understand and manipulate them more easily. A thesis financed by IBM to advance the research on this topic has been completed this year

  • In a web context, JSON has become a very popular lightweigth format for data exchange. JSON is human readable and easy for computers to parse and use. However, JSON is schemaless. Though this brings some benefits (e.g. flexibility in the representation of the data) it can become a problem when consuming and integrating data from different JSON services since developers need to be aware of the structure of the schemaless data. We believe that a mechanism to discover (and visualize) the implicit schema of the JSON data would largely facilitate the creation and usage of JSON services. For instance, this would help developers to understand the links between a set of services belonging to the same domain or API. In this sense, we have proposed a model-based approach to generate the underlying schema of a set of JSON documents [22] .