Understanding and Restructuring Web Sites with ReWeb

Abstract

The development of web sites is becoming part of the business of several companies. While an increasing number of implementation technologies is offered to web developers, no widely accepted methodology is available for their design, and few approaches have been proposed to support maintenance and evolution. Since the continuous update of web sites is often a key to success, the interventions for their comprehension and modification need special attention and support.

This paper aims at defining a set of semi-automatic and automatic analysis techniques which can be applied to web sites. The considered analyses are focused on web site structure and history, and have the purpose of supporting maintenance activities. Structural information may help understanding the organization of the pages in the site, while history analysis provides indications on modifications that do not correspond to the original design or that produce undesirable effects.

A tool was developed to implement the analysis of web site structure and evolution. It will be described with reference to a case study involving a web site understanding activity, followed by a re-structuring intervention. The information extracted by the tool was extremely valuable to analyze the site architecture both before and after its modification.