Service-Oriented Re-engineering of Legacy JEE Applications: Issues and Research Directions

Research paper by Hafedh Mili, Ghizlane El-Boussaidi, Anas Shatnawi, Yann-Gaël Guéhéneuc, Naouel Moha, Jean Privat, Petko Vatlchev

Indexed on: 19 Jan '20Published on: 03 Jun '19Published in: arXiv - Computer Science - Software Engineering


Service-orientation views applications as orchestrations of independent software services that (1) implement functions that are reusable across many applications, (2) can be invoked remotely, and (3) are packaged to decouple potential callers from their implementation technology. As such, it enables organizations to develop quality applications faster than without services. Legacy applications are not service-oriented. Yet, they implement many reusable functions that could be exposed as \emph{services}. Organizations face three main issues when re-engineering legacy application to (re)use services: (1) to mine their existing applications for reusable functions that can become services, (2) to package those functions into services, and (3) to refactor legacy applications to invoke those services to ease future maintenance. In this paper, we explore these three issues and propose research directions to address them. We choose to focus on the service-oriented re-engineering of recent legacy object-oriented applications, and more specifically, on JEE applications, for several reasons. First, we wanted to focus on architectural challenges, and thus we choose to \textit{not} have to deal with programming language difference between source and target system. We chose JEE applications, in particular, because they embody the range of complexities that one can encounter in recent legacy applications, namely, multi-language systems, multi-tier applications, the reliance on external configuration files, and the reliance on frameworks and container services during runtime. These characteristics pose unique challenges for the three issues mentioned above.