Managing the Evolution of Aspect-Oriented Software with Model-Based Pointcuts

  • Andy Kellens
  • Kim Mens
  • Johan Brichau
  • Kris Gybels
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4067)


In spite of the more advanced modularisation mechanisms, aspect-oriented programs still suffer from evolution problems. Due to the fragile pointcut problem, seemingly safe modifications to the base code of an aspect-oriented program can have an unexpected impact on the semantics of the pointcuts defined in that program. This can lead to broken aspect functionality due to accidental join point misses and unintended join point captures. We tackle this problem by declaring pointcuts in terms of a conceptual model of the base program, rather than defining them directly in terms of how the base program is structured. As such, we achieve an effective decoupling of the pointcuts from the base program’s structure. In addition, the conceptual model provides a means to verify where and why potential fragile pointcut conflicts occur, by imposing structural and semantic constraints on the conceptual model, that can be verified when the base program evolves. To validate our approach we implemented a model-based pointcut mechanism, which we used to define some aspects on SmallWiki, a medium-sized application, and subsequently detected and resolved occurrences of the fragile pointcut problem when this application evolved.


Conceptual Model Design Rule Base Program Program Entity Aspect Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Kiczales, G., Lamping, J., Mendhekar, A., Maeda, C., Lopes, C., Loingtoir, J., Irwin, J.: Aspect-Oriented Programming. In: Aksit, M., Matsuoka, S. (eds.) ECOOP 1997. LNCS, vol. 1241, pp. 220–242. Springer, Heidelberg (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Parnas, D.L.: On the criteria to be used in decomposing systems into modules. Communications of the ACM 15(12), 1053–1058 (1972)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sommerville, I.: Software Engineering, 6th edn. Pearson Education Ltd., London (2001)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Xu, J., Rajan, H., Sullivan, K.: Understanding aspects via implicit invocation. In: Automated Software Engineering (ASE), IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos (2004)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Filman, R., Friedman, D.: Aspect-oriented programming is quantification and obliviousness. In: Workshop on Advanced Separation of Concerns (OOPSLA) (2000)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sullivan, K., Griswold, W., Song, Y., Chai, Y., Shonle, M., Tewari, N., Rajan, H.: On the criteria to be used in decomposing systems into aspects. In: Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering joint with the European Software Engineering Conference (ESEC/FSE 2005), ACM Press, New York (2005)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Stoerzer, M., Graf, J.: Using pointcut delta analysis to support evolution of aspect-oriented software. In: International Conference on Software Maintenance (ICSM), pp. 653–656. IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Koppen, C., Stoerzer, M.: Pcdiff: Attacking the fragile pointcut problem. In: First European Interactive Workshop on Aspects in Software (EIWAS) (2004)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gybels, K., Brichau, J.: Arranging language features for more robust pattern-based crosscuts. In: Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD) (2003)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mens, K., Kellens, A., Pluquet, F., Wuyts, R.: Co-evolving code and design with intensional views - a case study. Computer Languages, Systems and Structures 32(2-3), 140–156 (2006)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kiczales, G., Mezini, M.: Aspect-oriented programming and modular reasoning. In: International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), ACM Press, New York (2005)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mikhajlov, L., Sekerinski, E.: A Study of the Fragile Base Class Problem. In: Jul, E. (ed.) ECOOP 1998. LNCS, vol. 1445, Springer, Heidelberg (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Steyaert, P., Lucas, C., Mens, K., D’Hondt, T.: Reuse contracts: Managing the evolution of reusable assets. In: Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA 1996), pp. 268–285. ACM Press, New York (1996)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Douence, R., Fritz, T., Loriant, N., Menaud, J.M., Ségura, M., Südholt, M.: An expressive aspect language for system applications with arachne. Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD) (2005)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ostermann, K., Mezini, M., Bockisch, C.: Expressive Pointcuts for Increased Modularity. In: Black, A.P. (ed.) ECOOP 2005. LNCS, vol. 3586, pp. 214–240. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Havinga, W., Nagy, I., Bergmans, L.: Introduction and derivation of annotations in AOP: Applying expressive pointcut languages to introductions. In: First European Interactive Workshop on Aspects in Software (2005)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kiczales, G., Mezini, M.: Separation of Concerns with Procedures, Annotations, Advice and Pointcuts. In: Black, A.P. (ed.) ECOOP 2005. LNCS, vol. 3586, pp. 195–213. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Mens, K., Michiels, I., Wuyts, R.: Supporting software development through declaratively codified programming patterns. Special issue of Elsevier Journal on Expert Systems with Applications (2001)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Renggli, L.: Collaborative web: Under the cover. Master’s thesis, University of Berne (2005)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Vanderperren, W., Suvee, D., Cibran, M.A., De Fraine, B.: Stateful Aspects in JAsCo. In: Gschwind, T., Aßmann, U., Nierstrasz, O. (eds.) SC 2005. LNCS, vol. 3628, pp. 167–181. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Griswold, W., Sullivan, K., Song, Y., Shonle, M., Teware, N., Cai, Y., Rajan, H.: Modular software design with crosscutting interfaces. IEEE Software, Special Issue on Aspect-Oriented Programming (2006)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Aldrich, J.: Open Modules: Modular Reasoning About Advice. In: Black, A.P. (ed.) ECOOP 2005. LNCS, vol. 3586, pp. 144–168. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Skotiniotis, T., Palm, J., Lieberherr, K.: Demeter Interfaces: Adaptive Programming Without Surprises. In: Thomas, D. (ed.) ECOOP 2006. LNCS, vol. 4067, pp. 477–500. Springer, Heidelberg (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Harrison, W., Ossher, H., Jr., S.M.S., Tarr, P.: Concern modeling in the concern manipulation environment. IBM Research Report RC23344, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY (2004)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Sutton, S., Rouvellou, I.: Modeling of software concerns in cosmos. In: Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD), pp. 127–133. ACM, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Murphy, G., Notkin, D., Sullivan, K.: Software reflexion models: Bridging the gap between source and high-level models. In: Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (SIGSOFT), pp. 18–28. ACM Press, New York (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Baniassad, A.L.A., Murphy, G.C.: Conceptual module querying for software reengineering. In: International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), pp. 64–73. IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos (1998)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andy Kellens
    • 1
  • Kim Mens
    • 2
  • Johan Brichau
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kris Gybels
    • 1
  1. 1.Programming Technology LabVrije Universiteit BrusselBelgium
  2. 2.Département d’Ingénierie InformatiqueUniversité catholique de LouvainBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratoire d’Informatique Fondamentale de LilleUniversité des Sciences et Technologies de LilleFrance

Personalised recommendations