Supporting the Comprehension of Object-oriented Software Systems by Extended M-M Graph

M.L. Bernardi and G.A. Di Lucca (Italy)


Software Engineering, Software Comprehension, Reverse Engineering, Source Code Analysis, UML


Tracing user functional requirements to the source code components implementing them is a difficult, time con suming and expensive software comprehension task, spe cially when adequate documentation is absent. In object oriented systems functional requirements are implemented by a chain of method activations started by an input event and terminating when an output event is generated. Such a chain may be modelled by the Method-Message Graph that has been used to effectively support the identification of sequences of method activations responsible of a given system behaviour and to recover use cases from object ori ented code. This paper presents some extension to the Method-Message Graph enriching it with information about the dependence on the control flow of each method call statement, and data exchanged by method activations. Such information allow to obtain more insight about relationships among method activations, as well as to define with less effort the relation ships among the use cases that can be recovered by analyz ing the M-M Graph. A case study involving a small sized system implemented in Java language was carried out to validate the approach; it confirmed the validity and useful ness of the proposed M-M Graph extensions and provide us valuable information for future work.

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