Empirical Study of the Usability of Dynamic Information in Reverse Engineering

Q. Li, S. Hu, P. Chen, S. Rugaber, H. Chu, and H. Gao (USA)


Reverse Engineering; Dynamic Analysis; Information Usability; Software Instrumentation; Object Orientation


In Reverse Engineering, dynamic information extracted from source code is very useful for users to comprehend an object-oriented software system. Software instrumentation is an important means to extract run-time information. An instrumentation based approach and related empirical study for improving the usability of dynamic information is provided in this paper. Unlike the conventional passive filtering dynamic information, controlling the instrumentation location actively to solve the problem of information usability is presented. The paper defines and implements a dynamic program-call dependency graph model that reflects the dynamic calling relations among programs. Two types of dependence sub-graph based on the graph are put forward. Finally, a strategy for locating the positions of instrumentation according to the sub-graphs is presented. The empirical study shows that the use of the graph model and sub-graph can promote the precise selection of instrumentation locations and improve the usability of extracted dynamic information.

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