Improving a Software Modernisation Process by Differencing Migration Logs

Céline Deknop*, Johan Fabry, Kim Mens, Vadim Zaytsev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


Software written in legacy programming languages is notoriously ubiquitous and often comprises business-critical portions of codebases and portfolios. Some of these languages, like COBOL, mature, grow, and acquire modern tooling that makes maintenance activities more bearable. Others, like many fourth generation languages (4GLs), stagnate and become obsolete and unmaintained, which first urges and eventually forces migrating to other languages, if the software needs to be kept in production. In this paper, we dissect a software modernisation process endorsed by Raincode Labs, utilised in particular to migrate software from a 4GL called PACBASE, to pure COBOL. Having migrated upwards of 500 MLOC of production code to COBOL using this process, the company has ample experience with this process. Nevertheless, we identify some improvement points and explain the technical side of a possible solution, based on migration log differencing, that is currently being put to the test by Raincode migration engineers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProduct-Focused Software Process Improvement
Subtitle of host publication21st International Conference, PROFES 2020, Turin, Italy, November 25–27, 2020, Proceedings
EditorsMaurizio Morisio, Marco Torchiano, Andreas Jedlitschka
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-64148-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-64147-4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2020
Event21st International Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement, PROFES 2020 - Virtual Event, Turin, Italy
Duration: 25 Nov 202027 Nov 2020
Conference number: 21

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference21st International Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement, PROFES 2020
Abbreviated titlePROFES 2020


  • 4GL
  • Code differencing
  • Legacy programming languages
  • Software evolution
  • Software migration
  • Software modernisation
  • 22/2 OA procedure


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