In software maintenance one of the most important assets is a coherent, consistent and up-to-date documentation of the application. In practice, this information is often not accessible, outdated, or scattered over a multitude of special-purpose systems. We propose to abandon the idea of a perfect documentation in a central repository, and to apply the successful principles and technologies of the open web architecture to arrive at a federated architecture to capture, connect and query distributed information over the full lifecycle of an application. The contributions of the paper are a concise problem analysis, an identification of relevant related work in software engineering and lessons learned from open web architectures. Based on these, we highlight how our approach can contribute to substantial quality and productivity improvements in the maintenance phase. The paper concludes with a discussion of research and development issues that need to be addressedto realize and validate such a federated application lifecycle management.
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