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In the last years, Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) have emerged as a new generation of web applications offering greater usability and interactivity than traditional ones. A combination of web technologies give RIAs new client-side elaboration capacity, new presentation features, and different communication mechanisms between client and server side, making them very similar to desktop applications and able to provide richer user experiences. At the same time, RIAs introduce new issues and challenges in all the web application lifecycle activities. As an example, a key problem with RIAs consists of defining suitable models for representing them from several points of view and defining Reverse Engineering processes for obtaining them effectively.
This paper proposes a model based on Finite State Machines for representing the behaviour offered by a RIA implemented with Ajax-based techniques, and presents a reverse engineering process and a tool for producing this model. The reverse engineering process is based on dynamic analysis of the RIA and employs clustering techniques based on equivalence criteria for solving the problem of state explosion of the state machine. A case study illustrated in the paper shows the results of a preliminary experiment where the proposed process has been executed with success for reverse engineering the behaviour of an existing RIA.