28 May 2010

Architecture reconstruction

Each spring a project course called Industrial IT and Embedded Systems is given at the IT University. A description of the project from 2009 can be read here.
The students used trac to support their project and you can access the public project pages here.

This year I coached the students responsible for defining the overall architecture at the beginning of the project.
The project is finished with an official demo of the robot's capabilities, but some students approached me with an interest of doing a "post mortem" of the software as an additional learning experience. I thought this would be quite interesting, enough so to share any experiences on this blog.

These were the primary goals the students defined for the exercise:
  • Learning more about architecture
  • Only analysis, not update current project (code)
  • Reconstruct existing robot architecture
    • Automatic reconstruction using a tool
    • Create "logical view" from source code, showing dependencies on function level
    • Variable scope, global variables
    • Process view
  • Evaluation, compare against first architecture

Second priority goals:
  • What could have been done in other ways and what impact would those changes have made
  • Improvement Ideas

The students doing the reconstruction use the excellent tool Pirate Pad to capture notes and common ideas. Pirate Pad is a simple pre-runner of Google Wave where you don't have to register to create a pad, everybody just access the same web address and start collaborating.

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