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Reverse Engineering Process

The traditional software life cycle focuses on mainly three activities. They are requirement analysis, design and coding. This process can be looked upon as moving from high level representations of the system to the actual physical implementation and is often termed as forward engineering. The reverse engineering is just the opposite i.e., starting form code, generating representations that are implementation independent.

Forward engineering Vs reverse engineering

According to (Byrine), reverse engineering process consists of following steps:

1.    Collecting information. This step focuses on collecting all possible information (i.e., source design documents etc.) about the software.

2.    Examining the information. The information collected in step 1 is studied so as to get familiar with the system

3.    Extracting the structure. This step concerns with identification program structure in the form of structure chart where each node corresponds to some routine.

4.    Recording the functionability. During this step processing details of each module of the structure charts are recorded using structured language. PDL, decision tables etc.

5.    Recording data flow. From the information extracted at step 4 and step 5, set of data flow diagrams are derived to show flow of data among the processes.

6.    Recording control flow. High level control structure of the software is recorded.

7.    Review extracted design. Design document extracted is reviewed several times to ensure consistency and correctness. It also ensures that the design represents the program.

8.    Generate documentation. Finally in this step the complete documentation including SRS, design document, history, overview etc. is recorded for future use.

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