Semiautomatic Reverse Engineering Tool on Oracle Forms Information Systems

Oscar Chaparro

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Master thesis, 2012


Abstract: Legacy information systems are systems that have had a long evolution, longer than the typical turnaround time of the developers in the company. They are essential to the business and encode large amounts of essential information related to the business processes. However, continuous changes in the domain of some systems, the lack of strict maintenance processes, and the turnaround of developers inevitably leads to gradual loss of knowledge about the system and its domain, most often corroborated by the fact that external documentation is rarely updated in sync with the code and other artifacts. SIFI, a financial legacy information system owned by the software development company IT Consultores S.A.S., presents such a maintenance issues: high coupling, architecture decay, no formal documentation and loss of domain and implementation knowledge, making its evolution very difficult. Within this thesis, a reverse engineering tool for Oracle Forms and PL/SQL information systems was built, aiming at supporting the maintenance process on SIFI. The tool is able to extract and visualize structural and behavioral information about the system, and implements the approach we proposed for automatically extracting structural business rules from legacy databases. The effectiveness of the tool was assessed under the understanding and maintenance of SIFI, through a survey. The results show that tool is very useful, as it improves the productivity of developers to complete their tasks and the maintenance process of SIFI is now easier for them. In addition, the implemented business rule extraction approach was assessed though a study with 4 ITC employees. The results show that the recovery technique is practical, while there is room for improvement, and it will be used as basis for the recovery of additional knowledge