Helsingin yliopisto

 

Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Specifying Reuse Interfaces for Task-Oriented Framework Specialization

Antti Viljamaa

Doctoral dissertation, March 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Computer Science.

Reuse of existing carefully designed and tested software improves the quality of new software systems and reduces their development costs. Object-oriented frameworks provide an established means for software reuse on the levels of both architectural design and concrete implementation. Unfortunately, due to frame-works' complexity that typically results from their flexibility and overall abstract nature, there are severe problems in using frameworks.

Patterns are generally accepted as a convenient way of documenting frameworks and their reuse interfaces. In this thesis it is argued, however, that mere static documentation is not enough to solve the problems related to framework usage. Instead, proper interactive assistance tools are needed in order to enable system-atic framework-based software production. This thesis shows how patterns that document a framework's reuse interface can be represented as dependency graphs, and how dynamic lists of programming tasks can be generated from those graphs to assist the process of using a framework to build an application. This approach to framework specialization combines the ideas of framework cookbooks and task-oriented user interfaces. Tasks provide assistance in (1) cre-ating new code that complies with the framework reuse interface specification, (2) assuring the consistency between existing code and the specification, and (3) adjusting existing code to meet the terms of the specification.

Besides illustrating how task-orientation can be applied in the context of using frameworks, this thesis describes a systematic methodology for modeling any framework reuse interface in terms of software patterns based on dependency graphs. The methodology shows how framework-specific reuse interface specifi-cations can be derived from a library of existing reusable pattern hierarchies. Since the methodology focuses on reusing patterns, it also alleviates the recog-nized problem of framework reuse interface specification becoming complicated and unmanageable for frameworks of realistic size.

The ideas and methods proposed in this thesis have been tested through imple-menting a framework specialization tool called JavaFrames. JavaFrames uses role-based patterns that specify a reuse interface of a framework to guide frame-work specialization in a task-oriented manner. This thesis reports the results of cases studies in which JavaFrames and the hierarchical framework reuse inter-face modeling methodology were applied to the Struts web application frame-work and the JHotDraw drawing editor framework.

The title page of the publication

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Last updated 06.03.2006

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