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Friday, June 15, 2012

Inventory Analysis - an activity involved in software re-engineering process model.

The software re- engineering process model over the years has proved to be a very effective process in bringing the poorly maintained and controlled code to an acceptable standard. This model consists of the below mentioned 5 steps:
  1. Inventory analysis
  2. Document reconstruction
  3. Reverse engineering
  4. Code re- structuring
  5. Data re- structuring
  6. Forward Engineering
In this article we have discussed about the first step of the process i.e., inventory analysis in detail. 

Characteristics of Inventory Analysis

- It is obvious for every organization to maintain an inventory of all the software systems or applications it has developed whether they are active or not.
- An inventory is like a spreadsheet containing details of the software system or application against its name. 
- In inventory analysis, the software systems and applications are sorted out on the basis of the following criteria:
  1. Business criticality
  2. Longevity
  3. Current maintainability and
  4. Local criteria
- This step of the software re engineering process model helps the team to identify what all the software systems or applications require to be re- engineered.  
- Firstly, a table is build that lists all the software applications.
- After this a list of criteria is established on the basis of the criteria like few of which have been mentioned below:
  1. Name of the software system or application.
  2. Year of its creation.
  3. Number of changes or modifications it had gone through since its creation.
  4. Effort applied in making those modifications.
  5. Effort applied in making the last of the modifications.
  6. Date on which the last modification was made.
  7. The systems in which the application now resides.
  8. Other applications with which this application shares the interface.
- The primary purposes of this step is prioritizing all of them and analyze them so as to select the candidates for re- engineering. 
The steps for the creation of an effective inventory are:
  1. Preparing for data collection
  2. Collecting the data
  3. Deciding the criteria
  4. Allocation
- It has not been wrongly said that “well begun is half done” since the organization may have to suffer a huge set back if it chose wrong candidates for re- engineering. 
- So selecting the candidates for re- engineering during the stage of inventory analysis holds importance. 
- The inventory analysis is a very generic process.
- The inventory analysis looks up with the details of all small and big aspects of the software systems and applications and therefore it becomes easy to select which candidates really need re- engineering.
- Usually the software systems or applications which have not been updated since a long time and are no more accepted and are undocumented are given the first priority.
- Such software systems and applications often have documentation associated with them that is either not updated or relates to the previous versions of the particular software system or application. 
- Problems with the selected candidates are identified and they are carried forward to the next step of the software re- engineering process model. 
- Before you start the restructuring of the code it is necessary that the objectives of the re- engineering are defined. 
- Re- engineering actually consists of 11 steps but they are shortened down to 5 major steps. - The detailed steps are:
  1. Identifying the existing documentation
  2. Verifying the identified code
  3. Familiarising with the existing software
  4. Identifying the re- engineering requirements
  5. Drawing up the re- engineering plan
  6. Producing a test plan, test script and test data.
  7. Producing test results for original software and the ported version.
  8. Restructuring the code
  9. Testing the code
  10. Updating the documentation

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