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Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering is the process of analyzing software with the objective of recovering its design and specification. The program itself is unhinged by the reverse engineering process. The software source code is usually available as the input to the reverse engineering process. Sometimes, however, even this has been lost and the reverse engineering must start with the executable code.

Reverse engineering has traditionally been defined by Arnold as a two-step process of information extraction followed by information abstraction:
•    The first step analyses the subject system to identify its components and their inter-relationship.
•    The second step creates representations of the system in another form or at a higher abstraction level.

Mainly reverse engineering supports understanding of existing systems. It aims to extract specifications of existing software. It supports aids for comprehension and redevelopment to software engineers.

Reverse engineering is not the same thing as re-engineering. The objective of reverse engineering is to derive the design or specification of a system from its source code. The objective of re-engineering is to produce, new, more maintainable system. And objective of reverse engineering is to develop a better understanding of a system, that is often the part of re-engineering process.

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