March 2 – 6 , 1998, Dagstuhl Seminar 98092

Continuous Engineering for Industrial Scale Software Systems


H. Müller (Victoria, CDN), H. Weber (TU-Berlin)

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Dagstuhl-Seminar-Report 203


Coping with legacy systems has been a research issue for a number of years. Re-engineering and reverse engineering have become the keywords to address the issues involved. Re(verse) engineering and system maintenance are often not clearly separated. Moreover, as one would expect the two communities dealing with these two subjects intersect considerably.

Re(verse) engineering research has in the past primarily been instance-oriented, that is, a certain system or application needed re(verse) engineering. This was certainly the right approach at the beginning to get a better understanding of the problem. With the experience of a number of those instance- oriented research projects, the time seems right to generalize on the experiences gained.

One insight gained in recent years clearly suggest to look at re(verse) engineering not as something that is done once or infrequently but rather as something that has to be done continuously: operating environments changes, application requirements changes, technologies changes, and business process changes demand for a more continuous change process of entire systems.

A second major insight relates to the research environment needed to conduct research that is of immediate use. It seems good research can be done only together with industry that is now plagued by the problems and has hence the best handle to the problem. Research gaines relevance only of it addresses to problems of industrial dimension and must hence be done with systems and infrastructures of that dimension. This once again emphasizes the need to cooperate with industry.

Now questions arise as to whether the results and experience gained in previous projects can be condensed, whether principles of a Continuous Software Engineering (CSE), i.e. an integrated paradigm of forward, reverse and re-enginering, can be deduced, and whether methods can be formalized and successfully applied.

The central focus for discussion during the seminar is as follows:

  • How is adaptive business process management including business process re-engineering enabled through Continuous Software Engineering and what ist the impact of the many variants of process management techniques (i. e. work flow, group work, teleworking etc.) and process management tools on Continuous Software Engineering?
  • How can Continuous Software Engineering be enabled through proper architecture concepts (i.e. architectural patterns, invariant platforms, software-componentry) for software that is meant to function in local or global communication infrastructures (i. e. intranets, extranets, internet)?
  • How can adaptive information management be enabled through Continuous Software Engineering through techniques for data migration, data restructuring, and data transformation, through model in tegration and metamodelling and through the wrapping of components for their continuous use?
  • How can program migration from procedurally oriented legacy software towards components in distributed information & communication infrastructures be enabled through Continuous Software Engineering, and how do particular re-engineering and reverse engineering techniques apply?

As an important result of this seminar, we expect to form a nucleus of a community interested in continuous engineering research and technology transfer. Hopefully this nucleus will be able to establish fast information exchanges between its members. One positive result could be a consolidation on the many workshops and conferences that seem to be very dispersed and attract only a part of the interested people.


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