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Science & engineering software migration: moving from desktop to mobile applications


The proliferation of mobile devices over the last years provides opportunities and challenges for solving problems in Science & Engineering. Among other novel features, mobile devices contain global positioning sensors, wireless connectivity, built-in web browsers and photo/video/voice capabilities that allow providing highly localized, context aware applications. Mobile phones have become as powerful as any desktop computer in terms of applications they can run. However, the software development in mobile computing is still not as mature as it is for desktop computer and the whole potential of mobile devices is wasted. A current problem in the engineering community is the adaptation of desktop applications for mobile technologies. To take advantage of new platform technologies, existing software must evolve. A number of solutions have been proposed to deal with this problem such as redevelopment, which rewrites existing applications, or migration, which moves the existing system to a more flexible environment while retaining the original system data and functionality. A good solution should be to restore the value of the existing software, extracting knowledge and exploiting investment in order to migrate to new software that incorporates the new technologies. On the one hand, traditional reverse engineering techniques can help in the software migration to mobile applications. They are related to the process of analyzing available software with the objective of extracting information and providing high-level views on the underlying code. On the other hand, to achieve interoperability with multiple platforms the migration needs of technical frameworks for information integration and tool interoperability such as the initiative of the Object Management Group (OMG) called Model Driven Architecture (MDA). The outstanding ideas behind MDA are separating the specification of the system functionality from its implementation on specific platforms and managing the software evolution from abstract models to implementations increasing the degree of automation. The objective of this paper is to describe a reengineering process that allow moving existing desktop applications for solving engineering problems of multidisciplinary character to mobile platforms. Our research aims to simplify the creation of applications for mobile platforms by integrating traditional reverse engineering techniques, such static and dynamic analysis, with MDA. We validated our approach by using the open source application platform Eclipse, EMF (Eclipse Modeling Framework), EMP (Eclipse Modeling Project) and the Android platform.

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