Maintaining software through intentional source-code views

Mens, Kim; Mens, Tom and Wermelinger, Michel (2002). Maintaining software through intentional source-code views. In: Proceedings of the 14th international conference on Software engineering and knowledge engineering, ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, pp. 289–296.




Maintaining the source code of large software systems is hard. One underlying cause is that existing modularisation mechanisms are inadequate to handle crosscutting concerns. We propose intentional source-code views as an intuitive and lightweight means of modelling such concerns. They increase our ability to understand, modularise and browse the source code by grouping together source-code entities that address the same concern. They facilitate software development and evolution, because alternative descriptions of the same intentional view can be checked for consistency and relations among intentional views can be defined and verified. Finally, they enable us to specify knowledge developers have about source code that is not captured by traditional program documentation mechanisms. Our intentional view model is implemented in a logic metaprogramming language that can reason about and manipulate object-oriented source code directly. The proposed model has been validated on the evolution of a medium-sized object-oriented application in Smalltalk, and a prototype tool has been implemented.

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