, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 209-231

Applying and combining three different aspect Mining Techniques

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Understanding a software system at source-code level requires understanding the different concerns that it addresses, which in turn requires a way to identify these concerns in the source code. Whereas some concerns are explicitly represented by program entities (like classes, methods and variables) and thus are easy to identify, crosscutting concerns are not captured by a single program entity but are scattered over many program entities and are tangled with the other concerns. Because of their crosscutting nature, such crosscutting concerns are difficult to identify, and reduce the understandability of the system as a whole.

In this paper, we report on a combined experiment in which we try to identify crosscutting concerns in the JHotDraw framework automatically. We first apply three independently developed aspect mining techniques to JHotDraw and evaluate and compare their results. Based on this analysis, we present three interesting combinations of these three techniques, and show how these combinations provide a more complete coverage of the detected concerns as compared to the original techniques individually. Our results are a first step towards improving the understandability of a system that contains crosscutting concerns, and can be used as a basis for refactoring the identified crosscutting concerns into aspects.

M. Ceccato is a PhD student in ITC-irst in Trento, Italy. He received his degree in Software Engineering from the University of Padova, Italy, in 2003. The master thesis concerned the Re-engineering of an existing big-sized data warehouse application. The project was developed in the Information Technology department in Alcoa Servizi. His research interests are on source code analysis and manipulation, especially for the the migration of object-oriented code to aspect-oriented programming. He collaborates with King’s College London and Loyola College in Maryland on the automatic support for this migration process. He has been involved in the organization and in the program committee of a number of AOP-related events, such as Late Workshop, in Chicago (2005) and in Bonn, Germany (2006), held within the major Aspect Oriented Programming conference (AOSD) and 3rd European Workshop on Aspects in Software (EWAS’06) in Enschede, The Netherlands.
Marius Marin is a Ph.D. researcher in the Software Evolution Reseach Laboratory at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. He was granted an engineering degree by the Technical University of Civil Engineering, Bucharest, in 2000, and Licentiate in Economic Computer Science from the Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, in 2002. Before starting his Ph.D. studies, he worked as a software engineer in industry. His main research interests are in the area of reverse engineering, software modularization and modeling, and aspect-oriented software development. He is the main author of the publicly available aspect mining tool FINT and he publishes at international conferences in the aforementioned topics. He has been involved in program- and organizing committees of several workshops related to aspect mining.
Kim Mens obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, on “architectural conformance checking,” for which he used a declarative meta-programming approach. After his Ph.D. he became a full-time professor (chargé de cours) at the Université catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL).
In addition to his current interest in logic meta-programming and intensional views, Kim Mens is one of the originators of the reuse contracts technique for automatically detecting conflicts in evolving software. He has been formally involved in several research networks related to software evolution.
He has a strong interest in object-oriented and aspect-oriented software development and has actively participated in the organization of several workshops and conferences on those topics. He combines all these different research interests under the common denominator of co-evolution (between source code and earlier life-cycle software artifacts). Other research topics that fit this common theme and in which he is interested are software architecture, software maintenance, reverse engineering, software transformation, software restructuring and renovation, aspect mining and evolution of aspect programs.
L. Moonen is an assistant professor in the Software Evolution Research Lab at Delft University of Technology and a researcher at the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI), the Netherlands. His research interests are the design and development of advanced program analysis tools and techniques that support development, maintenance and evolution of large software systems. Concrete topics include the reverse engineering and exploration of views on software systems and their use for understanding and assessing software quality attributes such as evolvability, reliability and security. Dr. Moonen received an MSc (cum laude, Computer Science, 1996) and PhD (Computer Science, 2002) from the University of Amsterdam. He is one of the founders of the Software Improvement Group, a company that specializes in tools and consultancy to help organizations solve their legacy problems. He publishes regularly at, and serves on organizing-, steering- and program committees of, international workshops and conferences on reverse engineering (WCRE), source code analysis (SCAM), software maintenance (ICSM), program understanding (ICPC), reengineering (CSMR), aspect mining (Dagstuhl 06302, TEAM) and software security (CoBaSSA).
Paolo Tonella is a senior researcher at ITC-irst, Trento, Italy. He received his laurea degree cum laude in Electronic Engineering from the University of Padova, Italy, in 1992, and his Ph.D. degree in Software Engineering from the same University, in 1999, with the thesis “Code Analysis in Support to Software Maintenance.”
Since 1994 he has been a full time researcher of the Software Engineering group at ITC-irst. He participated in several industrial and European Community projects on software analysis and testing. He is the author of “Reverse Engineering of Object Oriented Code,” Springer, 2005. His current research interests include reverse engineering, aspect oriented programming, empirical studies, Web applications and testing.
Tom Tourwé obtained the degree of Licentiate in Computer Science in 1997 and Ph.D. in Science in 2002 at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He is currently associated to the Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica, based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where he works as a post- doctoral researcher in the Ideals project. His main research interests lie in the broad area of software engineering, and include aspect-oriented software evolution and re-engineering in particular.
He published several peer-reviewed articles on these topics in international journals and conferences, and organised a number of workshops on those themes.