06/01/1999 09:00 AM
Computer Science
This paper presents a brief look at some of the challenges which may be encountered with ported software. Using the experimentation framework, as defined by Basili, Selby and Hutchens [V. Basili, R. Selby, and D. Hutchens, \"Experimentation in Software Engineering\", IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 1986], to describe my work, the original motivation of my study was to develop an abstract model for the porting process. The purpose of the study was to characterize a porting project with respect to its development lifecycle. To this end, I worked on an engineering team which was responsible for porting a product written by another company to a new operating environment, and for maintaining earlier versions of the port which were out in the field. Instead of learning enough to develop a plan to abstract a porting lifecycle model, I learned that this project was an extreme case. As such, it made a poor candidate from which to develop an abstraction intended to guide other projects. It did, however, provide a fruitful ground for studying the kinds of problems a porting team might encounter. This paper will present, in general terms, some of the programs worked on, some of the difficulties encountered in the work, and a discussion of how these problems could have been avoided. The goal of this paper is to present some ideas about how porting engineers can minimize the impact of problematic software.