Multiple Concerns in Aspect-Oriented Language Design: A Language Engineering Approach to Balancing Benefits, with Examples







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Leavens, Gary T. and Clifton, Curtis (2007) Multiple Concerns in Aspect-Oriented Language Design: A Language Engineering Approach to Balancing Benefits, with Examples. Technical Report TR #07-01a, Computer Science, Iowa State University.

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Some in the aspect-oriented community view a programming language as aspect-oriented only if it allows programmers to perfectly eliminate scattering and tangling. That is, languages that do not allow programmers to have maximal quantification and perfect obliviousness are not viewed as aspect-oriented. On the other hand, some detractors of aspect-oriented software development view maximal quantification and perfect obliviousness as causing problems, such as difficulties in reasoning or maintenance. Both views ignore good language design and engineering practice, which suggests trying to simultaneously optimize for several goals. That is, designers of aspect-oriented languages that are intended for wide use should be prepared to compromise quantification and obliviousness to some (small) extent, if doing so helps programmers solve other problems. Indeed, balancing competing requirements is an essential part of engineering. Simultaneously optimizing for several language design goals becomes possible when one views these goals, such as minimizing scattering and tangling, not as all-or-nothing predicates, but as measures on a continuous scale. Since most language design goals will only be partially met, it seems best to call them ``concerns.''

Keywords:Aspect-oriented programming language design, concerns, goals, quantification, obliviousness, scattering, tangling, ease of reasoning, ease of maintenance, compromise, tradeoff, balance.
Comments:This just corrects the title page of TR 07-01a, so it has the same number.
Subjects:Software: PROGRAMMING TECHNIQUES (E): General
Software: PROGRAMMING TECHNIQUES (E): Object-oriented Programming
Software: SOFTWARE ENGINEERING (K.6.3): Design Tools and Techniques
Software: PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES: Language Constructs and Features (E.2)
ID code:00000534
Deposited by:Gary T. Leavens on 20 March 2007
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