Software Engineering | Reverse Engineering

Software Reverse Engineering is a process of recovering the design, requirement specifications and functions of a product from an analysis of its code. It builds a program database and generates information from this.

The purpose of reverse engineering is to facilitate the maintenance work by improving the understandability of a system and to produce the necessary documents for a legacy system.

Reverse Engineering Goals:



  • Cope with Complexity.
  • Recover lost information.
  • Detect side effects.
  • Synthesise higher abstraction.
  • Facilitate Reuse.





Steps of Software Reverse Engineering:

  1. Collection 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 as studied so as to get familiar with the system.

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

  4. Recording the functionality:
    During this step processing details of each module of the structure, charts are recorded using structured language like decision table, etc.

  5. Recording data flow:
    From the information extracted in step-3 and step-4, set of data flow diagrams are derived to show the 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. are recorded for future use.



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