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D9: ActiveAspect: An Interactive Aspect Modeling Tool

Wesley Coelho, University of British Columbia
Gail C. Murphy, University of British Columbia

Wednesday, March 16, 11:30
Thursday, March 17, 16:30

Developers working with aspect-oriented programs can benefit from tool support that indicates how crosscutting concerns influence the underlying program. Existing tools provide features such as gutter annotations to indicate the presence of crosscutting, outline views that list the program elements advised by a particular advice, and an abstract visual representation of the lines of code advised by one or more aspects. These tools provide useful information but do not provide an overview of an aspect's effect on the program. We will present an aspect modeling tool that produces an interactive graphical model of an aspect in an existing AspectJ program. The model is displayed using a modified UML notation that has been extended to support AOP constructs and member-to- member relationships. Models are initially constructed by displaying the direct influence of an aspect such as the static shadows of its advice and the inter- type members it declares. This initial model can then be automatically expanded to show additional context such as calls made to introduced members or from advice bodies. Unique user interaction and automated abstraction techniques are employed to limit the model's complexity as additional context is incrementally added. We believe this model-based approach to investigating aspects has the potential to improve developer productivity.

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