Application Discovery for Modernization : How to identify and update libraries and frameworks?


Application Modernization is a necessary evil for businesses to stay on the top of their game. Modernization comes in different flavors. It could range from a complete re-architecture/rewrite to just a few updates to the existing components, frameworks and libraries. While application modernization is an arduous journey, several tools can help you navigate the various stages of modernization efficiently. Whatever path you decide to take, application discovery for modernization remains Step 1.

Application Discovery for modernization is Step 1

The first step in modernization would be to understand the existing application - Application discovery. A recent 2018 study found that on average about 60% of time is spent on understanding the existing code in a project! Application discovery for modernization a tedious and time consuming process can be accelerated using a tool like CAST Imaging.

[ Suggested reading : Accelerate Software Architecture discovery using CAST Imaging 1.7 ]

While full-fledged application modernization projects are few, there are constant updates to the common libraries and frameworks that have been used in the software.  It is very common to see that frameworks and libraries (both open source and proprietary) get frequently updated to fix known vulnerabilities and add new capabilities. Not updating them poses a huge threat to security and sometimes even the stability of the application.

Hence, there are regular needs to introduce new components, update/introduce libraries and frameworks in the existing application. There are two challenges here

  1. How to identify libraries, frameworks/ components and the associated dependencies
  2. How to update and introduce new libraries, frameworks and components

With CAST Imaging, updates on frameworks and components – actions that affect the architecture of the application, have been made super easy and efficient. Let’s dig into the details and see how:

How to identify existing libraries, frameworks and dependencies

Instead of spending several person-days of effort, CAST Imaging can help you collect all the information- libraries, frameworks and its dependencies in a matter of minutes.

CAST Imaging offers the capability to onboard extremely large applications, enabling you to visualize every object and search for your intended object references. The below image shows the search results for spring frameworks. On selecting spring coordination, it shows all the nodes and objects that interface with the spring coordination framework. Here in this case, you can infer that the spring framework talks to HTML coordination, jquery coordination and similar objects.


How to update / introduce new libraries or frameworks

Addition of new frameworks or libraries or sometimes even updating existing frameworks may warrant some changes in the architecture. It can be super hard to visualize the changes and collaborate with a large distributed team to decide on an optimal change. The latest release of CAST Imaging solves exactly this problem. CAST Imaging allows you add new nodes of the components you intend to add and helps you create a blueprint of the desired architecture. The blueprint aids discussions and helps communicate the expected changes to a large set of developers working on the application.


CAST Imaging automatically scans complex software systems built with any mix of 3GL, 4GL, Mobile, Web, Middleware, Framework, Database, Mainframe technologies and consistently creates architecture blueprints with MRI-like precision, accuracy and ease of use.

New to CAST Imaging?  Click here to schedule a walk thru with our expert on how CAST Imaging can help in application discovery for modernization and identify and update libraries and frameworks..

  This report describes the effects of different industrial factors on  structural quality. Structural quality differed across technologies with COBOL  applications generally having the lowest densities of critical weaknesses,  while JAVA-EE had the highest densities. While structural quality differed  slightly across industry segments, there was almost no effect from whether the  application was in- or outsourced, or whether it was produced on- or off-shore.  Large variations in the densities in critical weaknesses across applications  suggested the major factors in structural quality are more related to  conditions specific to each application. CRASH Report 2020: CAST Research on  the Structural Condition of Critical Applications Report
Open source is part of almost every software capability we use today. At the  very least libraries, frameworks or databases that get used in mission critical  IT systems. In some cases entire systems being build on top of open source  foundations. Since we have been benchmarking IT software for years, we thought  we would set our sights on some of the most commonly used open source software  (OSS) projects. Software Intelligence Report <> Papers
Making sense of cloud transitions for financial and telecoms firms Cloud  migration 2.0: shifting priorities for application modernization in 2019  Research Report
Shibin Michael
Shibin Michael Product Marketing Manager, CAST
Shibin started his career as a developer and has spent close to a decade in the tech industry across a wide range of roles. He is passionate about using Software Intelligence to help IT practitioners.
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