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Incremental approach for application GUI migration using metamodels

Abstract : Developers use GUI frameworks to design the graphical user interface of their applications. It allows them to reuse existing graphical components and build applications in a fast way. However, with the generalization of mobile devices and Web applications, GUI frameworks evolve at a fast pace: JavaFX replaced Java Swing, Angular 8 replaced Angular 1.4 which had replaced GWT (Google Web Toolkit). Moreover, former GUI frameworks are not supported anymore.This situation forces organizations to migrate their applications to modern frameworks regularly not to become obsolete.To ease the migration of applications, previous researches designed automatic approaches dedicated to some migration projects. Whereas they provide good results, they are hard to adapt to several contexts. For instance, at Berger-Levrault, our industrial partner, applications are written in generic programming languages (Java/GWT), proprietary ``4th generation'' languages (VisualBasic~6, PowerBuilder), or markup languages (Silverlight). Thus, there is a need for a language-agnostic migration approach allowing one to migrate various legacy GUI to the latest technologies. Moreover, when performing automatic migration, part of the migrated application still needs to be manually fixed. This problem is even more important for large applications where this last step can stand for months.Thus, companies need to migrate their application incrementally to ensure end-user delivery throughout the process.In this thesis, we propose a new incremental migration approach. It aims to allow the migration of large applications to ensure end-user delivery. It consists of migrating pages using our automatic GUI migration tool, fixing them, and integrating them in a hybrid application. To create our GUI migration tool, we designed a GUI pivot meta-model composed of several packages representing the visual and the behavioral aspects of any GUI. We detailed multiple implementations of our GUI migration tool that extract and generate GUI using different frameworks.We successfully applied our incremental migration approach to a real industrial application at Berger-Levrault. The migrated application is now in production.We also validated our automatic GUI migration tool on several migration projects, including applications developed with programming and markup languages. The company is currently using our approach for other migration projects.
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Submitted on : Friday, January 21, 2022 - 4:50:27 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 7, 2022 - 8:14:05 AM

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Benoît Verhaeghe. Incremental approach for application GUI migration using metamodels. Programming Languages [cs.PL]. Université de Lille, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021LILUB014⟩. ⟨tel-03539458v2⟩

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