On the Modularization of ExplorViz towards Collaborative Open Source Development

Software systems evolve over their lifetime. Changing conditions such as requirements or customer requests make it inevitable for developers to perform adjustments to the underlying code base. Especially in the context of open source software where everybody can contribute, demands can change over time and new user groups may be addressed. In particular, research software is often not structured with a maintainable and extensible architecture. In combination with obsolescent technologies, this is a challenging task for developers, especially, when students are involved. In this paper, we report on the modularization process and architecture of our open source research project ExplorViz towards a microservice architecture, which facilitates a collaborative development process for both researchers and students. We describe the modularization measures and present how we solved occurring issues and enhanced our development process. Afterwards, we illustrate our modularization approach with our modernized, extensible software system architecture and highlight the improved collaborative development process. Finally, we present a proof-of-concept implementation featuring several developed extensions in terms of architecture and extensibility.

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