An ontology-based reengineering methodology for service orientation




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


The “Software as a Service” model in service-oriented computing allows loosely coupled software components to be designed and integrated with other software systems. Web services, together with service-oriented architectures, are promising integration technology to facilitate legacy system Webification. However, since most components in a legacy system were not designed and developed as services, the current software systems need to be converted into a set of loosely coupled services. Therefore, a service-oriented software reengineering process is essential for legacy systems to survive in the service-oriented computing environment. In this service-oriented software reengineering process, understanding, decomposing and reusing legacy code turn to be important activities.

In this thesis, a methodology for Service-Oriented Software Reengineering (SOSR) is proposed to support the identification, extraction and integration of reusable legacy code. According to both the result of legacy system assessment and a service-oriented analysis and design process, a reengineering decision is made by proposed rules. Based on the service-oriented software reengineering decision, ontologies for SOSR, which consists of Domain Concept Ontology (DCO), Functionality Ontology (FO) and Software Component Ontology (SCO), are developed by the ontology development methodologies. These ontologies store knowledge on both application domain and code entities, which support further legacy code analysis. The identification of service candidates in legacy systems is achieved by mapping FO and SCO via a novel method combining Formal Concept Analysis (FCA) and Relational Concept Analysis (RCA). After the service candidates are identified, the reusable legacy code is extracted by dependency analysis and program slicing. Some rules are defined in code query language for the detection of dead code. Program slicing techniques are applied as main reverse engineering techniques to recover executable legacy code. An Executable Union Slicing (EUS) algorithm is defined to generate executable legacy components with high cohesion and low coupling properties. In the integration phase, extracted legacy components with core legacy code can either be wrapped into Web services for the service orchestration in the business layer, or be composed in a software service provider.

The proposed SOSR methodology is proved flexible and practical to migrate legacy applications to service-oriented architectures by the case studies. It can be customised according to different legacy systems. This methodology can help software developers and maintainers to reengineer the tightly coupled legacy information systems to the loosely coupled and agile information systems.



software reengineering, legacy system, source code analysis



Research Institute