Advanced separation of concerns and the compatibility of aspect-orientation Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5t34sn113

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  • The appropriate separation of concerns is a fundamental engineering principle. A concern, for software developers, is that which must be represented by code in a program; by extension, separation of concerns is the ability to represent a single concern in a single appropriate programming language construct. Advanced separation of concerns is a relatively recent technique in software development for dealing with the complexity of systems that contain crosscutting concerns, namely those individual concerns that cut across programs. Aspect-oriented programming (AOP), which is the area of this dissertation, offers a form of advanced separation of concerns in which primary and crosscutting concerns can be separated during problem solving. An aspect gathers into one place a concern that is or would otherwise be scattered throughout an object-oriented program or system. The primary aim of this dissertation-the AOPy project-is to investigate the usefulness of advanced separation of concerns that aspect-oriented programming offers. In other words, the AOPy Project determines whether the potential usefulness of aspect-oriented programming is currently actualized in practice. In determining its current practical usefulness, this dissertation also determines characteristics of and obstacles to usefulness of aspect-orientation in software development. Perhaps the most important contribution to understanding and addressing the problem of complexity in software systems that this dissertation makes is that the AOPy research project establishes a definition of compatibility of aspect-orientation and provides an analysis of sample instances during problem solving that indicate evidence of compatibility between object-orientation and aspect-orientation. Compatibility, as defined by the AOPy Project, exists when aspect-oriented ideas, terminology, and techniques are appropriately employed in the experimental problem-solving session. The primary scientific contribution of this dissertation, therefore, is a narrative description of the actual use of aspect-oriented programming in a series of controlled, problem-solving scenarios. Theories describing the use of aspect-oriented ideas, terminology, and techniques are generated and refined by means of Grounded Theory, a qualitative data analysis technique. Because this dissertation 1) analytically explores areas of compatibility of aspect-orientation with object-orientation and 2) defines areas of compatibility thwarted in practice, this research project can serve as a foundation for the development of aspect-oriented programming-based design methodologies that encourage compatibility and discourage non-compatibility. Therefore, the AOPy Project establishes a foundation for future research in both its methodology and its results and for future software development in practice. By contributing a definition of aspect-oriented compatibility and a framework within which it can be understood, this dissertation fosters the progression toward a seamless use of aspect-orientation between developer and task.
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