Let’s not argue with the fact that today many software systems need to be replaced due to poor maintainability or requirements that have changed in the meantime. Software systems age and they have to be replaced with new ones.
Software reengineering is an alternative to a complete redesign of a software system. The existing software system is analyzed and documented during reverse engineering, then restructured and re-implemented in the final stage of forward engineering. A newly created system can be a 1:1 scale copy of an existing system or have separate targeted extensions of technical functionality. Depending on the number of changes and extensions in the requirements specification, draft specification, or implementation, the appropriate solution space for the new software system being created is determined.
Every newly created software system sooner or later becomes a legacy system. Against this background, it makes sense to consider aging processes when creating a new software system in order to simplify maintenance and any software reengineering that may have to be done later. This could sustainably reduce the costs that occur in the life cycle of a software system.
Software reengineering involves solving various problems. For example, the success of (re-)documenting a software system depends to a large extent on the quality and extent of existing documentation. In particular, very old software systems have significant drawbacks here. There are high risks when replacing existing software systems. Depending on the risk and possible implementation efforts, suitable replacement strategies for the software system should be identified and implemented. In this article, we will talk about the top 3 strategies for improving applications that can take your business processes to the next level.
What is the purpose of using software reengineering services?
Based on the above problem, the goal of reengineering in its broadest definition is the study, analysis, and modification of a system in order to re-implement it in a new form and/or environment. This includes:
- Representing the system at a higher level of abstraction;
- Technical optimization at the same level;
- Description of the components and their relationships;
- New development process;
Application Reengineering – What Does This Concept Include?
As mentioned above, software reengineering is a multifaceted process. And this process may include:
- basic improvement of the functionality of existing software
- a more complicated way – transferring the application to a completely new platform
- a more complex approach – changing part of the architecture or data structure
It is worth noting that a complete redesign of the application is also possible, although it happens extremely rarely. Let’s take a closer look at each of these three strategies. Of course, we will not be able to delve into all the subtleties, but you will get the basic and most important information.
The First Strategy Is The Transition To A New Platform
Moving a specific application to the cloud or a new platform is called a lift migration. Now let’s explain with a simple example. There is some kind of local application that translates to a cloud platform (like GCP or Microsoft Azure). Thus, the performance of the application is increased, the process of its entry into the market is accelerated. In addition to all of the above, it also helps to significantly reduce the level of operating costs.
Platform change strategy is used when the application has sufficient quality code and high-security level. And the performance of an application directly depends on its environment. It is worth adding that this method of software reengineering is the least expensive and at the same time very fast. At the same time, changes in the application code and its functionality are minimal.
The transition to a new platform is not suitable for those applications that are developed to order. In addition, if the application does not have a sufficiently high-quality and reliable code, no long-term positive results should be expected. If an application has a number of errors in its structure, then this reengineering strategy will not fix them in any way.
The Second Strategy Is Refactoring
Code restructuring and modularity are two key characteristics of a refactoring strategy. The main goal of this software reengineering technique is to improve the performance and maintainability of the application.
What does it mean by changing the entire architecture of the application, or at least several of its parts?
- splitting a monolithic application into an architecture with separate microservices
- transfer of all (or part) of data to an updated database
What is the effectiveness of refactoring? This strategy contributes to a significant reduction in the amount of work that is associated with the maintenance of the application. Cost reductions are also expected. An important point is the mandatory presence of:
- a sufficient amount of necessary documentation
- qualified IT personnel who are familiar with the legacy application
If any of these are missing, then the software reengineering team may run into difficulties. As a result, the refactoring strategy may not be effective at all. But without sufficient documentation or IT staff familiar with the legacy application, the reengineering team can struggle. In such cases, refactoring may not produce the desired results in a reasonable amount of time, and it may be important to consider a different approach. A great addition to our article is the expert material on the Forbes website on why you should refactor rather than rewrite your code.
The Third Strategy Is Restructuring
Yes, let’s not argue. The full application transition strategy is the most complex and resource-intensive strategy. This method can be safely used if there is a complex application that does not have a proper architecture or clear documentation. What will perestroika bring if it is carried out competently and efficiently?
- increasing the transparency of the application code
- significant reduction in maintenance costs
- creating a promising and efficient application
Of course, there are risks that there will be high costs and even uncertainty about the return on investment. These risks can also be minimized. Methodologies such as:
- development based on testing and behavior
- CI/CD (continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment)
Application reengineering is a rather complex and time-consuming methodology. It is for this reason that you need to approach this issue carefully and use only professional and licensed software reengineering services. It is worth saying that reengineering will not allow you to achieve some kind of perfection – this is not its main goal. This process will help you and your business create a solid foundation for reaching new heights in the future. You should always focus and direct your efforts on reengineering the business-critical aspects of your application.
Perhaps you already had experience in implementing the process of reengineering different types of software for your business? Or have you actually experienced one of the above application reengineering strategies first-hand? If yes, what results did you get?
About the author:
Janet Polson is a graduate of George Washington University in International business. She is an unspoken expert in the study of science and philosophy. Janet is also a blogger, author of tech articles and she works as business analyst at Computools.