Syntax Independent Models in XML for Software Structure Analysis
SBIR FY04.1 Topic N04-067
Department of Defense (DOD)/Navy - Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)

The entire solicitation may be viewed at

N04-067 TITLE: Syntax Independent Models in XML for Software Structure Analysis.

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems


OBJECTIVE: Develop a syntax independent software model tool in XML such that legacy software capabilities could be accurately represented and analyzed to support system upgrade, reverse engineering, reuse and/or analysis of system capabilities evolution.

DESCRIPTION: Legacy software systems persist in the Navy systems arena as standardization efforts such as Open Architecture (OA) attempt to upgrade existing software systems. Millions of dollars are being spent upgrading legacy Navy systems to new platforms, porting software to new programming languages, and creating high-level models. Many systems are so large that testing and analysis of problems are rarely performed adequately. For example, features of an original system may be easily left out of ad-hoc requirements analysis resulting in a new system that may not perform all the necessary functions of the older system. These missing features are often not discovered until the system is deployed.

One way to ensure a new system performs all the functions and provides all the features of the original is through Software Translation. However, automated software translations are often cumbersome and difficult to read and may not take advantage of the best features of the target programming language. Manual software translation may take advantage of the new language features; but is time consuming, expensive, and requires a programmer with experience in both languages to facilitate this process.

Another software development paradigm to upgrade existing systems uses modeling languages such as the Unified Modeling Language (UML). UML has become a popular method of developing software due to the number of software suites that support this method and the visual nature of system development. However, even if these tools support the obsolete programming language, the result of the reverse engineering process applied to the legacy source code may be insufficient since many of the diagrams that provide great insight into a system are not generated. Therefore, the use of the UML is currently still prohibitive and expensive for legacy system rejuvenation.

The principles of software development, by contrast, have not changed significantly in the last twenty years. Software is primarily concerned with the manipulation, acquisition, and disposal of bytes of data. It should be possible, therefore to represent any software system's processes and algorithms in a way that is not biased towards one particular programming paradigm or language. The syntax independent representation of a software system has many possible applications including software translation, software structure analysis, white box testing, and change identification.

PHASE I: Develop a methodology to support XML representation of software in a syntax independent manner. Demonstrate a feasible automated capability to capture legacy source code like C++ and Ada in a syntax independent structure format such that some rudimentary metric analysis could be performed on the captured structure.

PHASE II: Develop a full-scale graphical interface prototype of the automated capability for syntax independent software representation that is capable of capture, analyze, and export software code models across various programming language.

PHASE III: Develop a commercial/military integrated development environment based on syntax independent structure for software development and reverse engineering.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL: This capability system could be applied to any software development project that is depending on or influence by its legacy code.

1. The Unified Modeling Language Reference Manual, James Rumbaugh, Ivar Jacobson and Grady Booch,Addison-Wesley, 1999

2. Navy Enterprise Application Guide v1.11 (NEADG)(

3. Department of the Navy (DON) XML Work Group's XML Developer's Guide

KEYWORDS: Automation; XML; Syntax Independent Modeling; Software Structure Analysis; Software Metrics Collection; Reverse Engineering

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Ngocdung T. Hoang


Nga D. Pham

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