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Quality Assurance

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Originally published in Queue vol. 9, no. 8
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(newest first)

George Romanski | Tue, 06 Sep 2011 16:43:29 UTC

For the Reverse Engineering Research report, our definition of Reverse Engineering is:

The use of one or more development processes which result in representations of the software for the target computer environment, and these processes are analytical techniques using information from a representation at a level closer to the target computer environment to produce representations at a more abstract level.

The key words are information-flow, development-process, and levels of abstraction. Note that if your development process is not well controlled, it may be difficult to tell if Reverse Engineering is used or not.

-- George

B. Scott Andersen | Thu, 01 Sep 2011 18:27:31 UTC

If working though a waterfall process from requirements, to designs, to code is "forward engineering" then "reverse engineering" is going backwards through that chain. Typically, the code has already been developed but the other artifacts have not. So, using the code and any other materials that might be at hand (such as industry standards for protocols, for examples, or user manuals that describe APIs for a software product, or anything else that is helpful) designs and requirements can be created.

This is "backwards" from the typical way people think about software engineering: doing requirements and designs first--which is why it is called "reverse engineering".

-- Scott

Poul-Henning Kamp | Wed, 31 Aug 2011 13:15:53 UTC

It is a bit unclear to me what the term "reverse-engineering" covers in this article. Is it considered "reverse engineering" to read the source-code of a library function, to figure out some aspect of its behaviour, if the documentation does not answer the question ?

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