The Client Insourcing Refactoring to Facilitate the Re-engineering of Web-Based Applications

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Virginia Tech

Developers often need to re-engineer distributed applications to address changes in requirements, made only after deployment. Much of the complexity of inspecting and evolving distributed applications lies in their distributed nature, while the majority of mature program analysis and transformation tools works only with centralized software. Inspired by business process re-engineering, in which remote operations can be insourced back in house to restructure and outsource anew, this dissertation brings an analogous approach to the re-engineering of distributed applications. Our approach introduces a novel automatic refactoring---Client Insourcing---that creates a semantically equivalent centralized version of a distributed application. This centralized version is then inspected, modified, and redistributed to meet new requirements. This dissertation demonstrates the utility of Client Insourcing in helping meet the changed requirements in performance, reliability, and security. We implemented Client Insourcing in the important domain of full-stack JavaScript applications, in which both the client and server parts are written in JavaScript, and applied our implementation to re-engineer mobile web applications. Client Insourcing reduces the complexity of inspecting and evolving distributed applications, thereby facilitating their re-engineering. This dissertation is based on 4 conference papers and 2 doctoral symposium papers, presented at ICWE 2019, SANER 2020, WWW 2020, and ICWE 2021.

Software Engineering, Reengineering, Web Apps, JavaScript, Mobile Apps, Program Analysis, Middleware, Cloud Computing, Edge Computing