The Meta in Meta-object Architectures

  • Marcus Denker
  • Mathieu Suen
  • Stéphane Ducasse
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 11)


Behavioral reflection is crucial to support for example functional upgrades, on-the-fly debugging, or monitoring critical applications. However the use of reflective features can lead to severe problems due to infinite meta-call recursion even in simple cases. This is especially a problem when reflecting on core language features since there is a high chance that such features are used to implement the reflective behavior itself. In this paper we analyze the problem of infinite meta-object call recursion and solve it by providing a first class representation of meta-level execution: at any point in the execution of a system it can be determined if we are operating on a meta-level or base level so that we can prevent infinite recursion. We present how meta-level execution can be represented by a meta-context and how reflection becomes context-aware. Our solution makes it possible to freely apply behavioral reflection even on system classes: the meta-context brings stability to behavioral reflection. We validate the concept with a robust implementation and we present benchmarks.


Virtual Machine Link Activation System Library Execution Context Beep Sound 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus Denker
    • 1
  • Mathieu Suen
    • 2
  • Stéphane Ducasse
    • 2
  1. 1.Software Composition GroupUniversity of BernSwitzerland
  2. 2.ADAM, INRIA Nord Europe – LIFL – CNRS UMR 8022France

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