Database Design Recovery

Jean-Luc Hainaut, Jean Henrard, Jean-Marc Hick, Didier Roland, Vincent Englebert

Research output: Contribution in Book/Catalog/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The design of a software component, such as a database, is the trace of all the processes, products and reasonings that have led to the production of this artifact. Such a document is the very basis of system maintenance and evolution processes. Unfortunately, it does not exist in most situations. The paper describes how the design of a database or of a collection of files can be recovered through reverse engineering techniques. Recording the reverse engineering activities provides a history of this process. By normalizing and reversing this history, then by conforming it according to a reference design methodology, one can obtain a tentative design of the source database. The paper describes the baselines of the approach, such as a wide spectrum specification model, semantics-preserving transformational techniques, and a design process model. It describes a general procedure to build a possible DB design, then states the requirements for CASE support, and describes DB-MAIN, a prototype CASE tool which includes a history processor. Finally it illustrates the proposals through an example.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProc. of the 8th Conf. on Advanced Information Systems Engineering (CAISE'96)
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • database reverse engineering
  • process modelling
  • CASE tool
  • design recovery
  • database evolution
  • transformational approach


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