Recovering Problem Structures to Support the Evolution of Software Systems

Tun, Thein Than; Yu, Yijun; Laney, Robin and Nuseibeh, Bashar (2008). Recovering Problem Structures to Support the Evolution of Software Systems. Technical Report 2008/08; Department of Computing, The Open University.



Software systems evolve in response to changes in stake-holder requirements. Lack of documentation about the original system requirements can make it difficult to analyse and implement new requirements. Although the recovery of requirements from an implementation is usually not possible , we suggest that the recovery of problem structures, which in turn inform the problem analysis of new requirements , is feasible and useful. In this paper, we propose a tool-supported approach to recover and maintain structures of problems, solutions, and their relationships, for specific new features in an existing system. We show how these recovered structures help with requirements assessment , as they highlight early in the evolutionary development whether it is feasible to implement a new requirement. We validate our approach using a case study of a medium-sized open-source software system.

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