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Project 2010: add jChecs distant multiplayer capability


jChecs is an open source Java chess program, designed to introduce the basics of computer chess programming concepts. Its main purpose is to be a chess programming sample, but it can be used "as is" by chess beginners.


As a reengineering team, you are asked to restructure the architecture and implementation of JChecs such that JChecs can be easily released with a distant multiplayer capability.

It is already possible to create human vs human chess games, but only locally. The two players have to use the same computer. With the distant multiplayer capability, a game could be created between two distant players. The distant game could take two forms depending on the communication paradigm chosen by the players: synchronous or asynchronous. During a synchronous game, players remain at their computer while waiting for their oppponent's movements. Thus, jChecs stays running during the entire game. The idea for the asynchronous game is inspired by old russian players who used mail (the analog kind delivered by postal services) to communicate their movements. A response can take several days, weeks or even months to arrive. For jChecs, this means that movements can be communicated using, for example, e-mail. Thus, players can quit jChecs while waiting for a movement and relaunch it when a new movement arrives.

Several paths for extending jChecs with these two kind of games are possible. As a reengineering team, you have to come up with possible designs, discuss them and select the one you find the most appropriate. More specifically, we ask you to perform the following activities, and report about these in your project report:

[Design recovery]

  1. Describe the current design of the implementation of jChecs. Clearly indicate how this design is located in the architecture of the project.


  1. Suggest several designs that allows JChecs to be elegantly extended with chess games that take place between two distant computers. Both, the synchronous game and asynchronous game need to be taken into account.

  2. Pick the most appropriate solution based on design quality and effort estimations (see next section).


  1. Estimate the effort required for (i) refactoring towards a design easy to extend with distant multiplayer game; and (ii) changing/extending the tests.


  1. Refactor the current implementation of JChecs such that it is easy to add distant multiplayer games.

  2. Adjust/extend the tests of the project to preserve their effectiveness and coverage during and after refactoring.

You will be required to perform a number of techniques presented during the lab sessions. These are:

  • Analyse:
    • Duplicated Code Analysis
    • Mining Software Repositories
    • Metrics and visualization
  • Restructuring:
    • Testing
    • Refactoring

This project emphasizes the sound, systematic analysis of the presented problem, the associated solution space and the chosen solution(s). The software reengineering sessions have been composed in such a way as to prepare you for such a project. We stimulate you to assess the benefits and drawbacks of the techniques presented in the lab sessions, and ask you to exploit the analysis techniques wisely. You are free to use alternative analysis techniques.

What concerns the refactoring-part, we emphasize the use of tests. Our minimum requirements are:

  • Determine the extent to which the current tests provide feedback on your future refactoring-steps. Quantify this.
  • Compose an argument discussing why the tests are (in)adequate for your chosen refactoring scenario, and adjust the tests in case this is required. Be efficient with regard to the time invested in testing.


To show that you have passed the assignment, you will have to demonstrate the following:

  • You have made a selection of analysis techniques (e.g., duplicated code analysis, mining software repositories, metric and visualization as seen in the lab sessions, but others are allowed as well), and have applied these techniques in a sound, systematic manner. You have indicated clearly (using screenshots, results of the interpretation of the output of the techniques) how you have used the results of these analysis techniques.

  • You have performed the above 4 activities (decomposed into (i) Design Recovery; (ii) Design; (iii) Management; and (iv) Refactoring) and discussed them in your project report.

  • The restructurings you have applied are behavior preserving.

    • You can demonstrate the mapping between each of the classes from the original structure with the new structure.
    • The compilation process succeeds flawlessly.
    • The tests run without flaws, and demonstrate clearly that the new functionality is implemented correctly.

  • The introduction of the new design clearly indicates the project is ready to be extended with the distant multiplayer capability.


Aspects that we typically like to see addressed in the report are:

  • Context: Briefly discuss the context in which you are running your project.
  • Problem at hand: Clarify the problem at the base of the project, and indicate its intrinsic difficulties.
  • Project management: Demonstrate how you have organized the work, and how you are controlling it (instead of the work controlling you!)
    • Scope: What are the boundaries of your project? What is not included in the project?
    • Risks: Which risks were envisioned, and which have been mitigated? What is the priority of the risks that still need to be migitated? E.g., which external dependencies might have an affect on your outcome? Which alternatives have you prepared in case this risk instantiates?
  • Software reengineering:
    • Tests: How can you verify that you satisfy the requirements? Which testing strategy have you selected, and what are the arguments for this selection? How confident are you that your solution satisfies the requirements?
    • Quality assurance: What are the non-functional requirements? E.g., how do you differentiate between a good and a bad solution?

Note: similar to previous years, it is once again possible to submit your own project proposals. These proposals will be approved in case they provide a well-structured exercise on the reengineering techniques presented in the lab sessions. E.g., you can always propose to reengineer another software system, for instance the software system used in your thesis, or written for another case.


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 Lab On REengineering - Antwerpen, last modified 12:19:20 17 March 2010