A two-level matching mechanism for object-oriented class libraries
Providing an effective search/retrieval mechanism is essential for supporting software reuse. Such a tool can help both software designers and developers in finding, understanding and modifying the components most relevant for their requirements. Syntactic matching techniques can provide easy to use, fast and cheap, but not necessarily very accurate, search tools. On the contrary, specification matching can provide accurate results, while it is more difficult to use, slow and expensive (in terms of complexity and resources). In this paper, we propose a hybrid process which combines these two matching methods. At the first level, a user can perform a keyword search based on faceted classification. If results of the first level are not satisfactory, a specification based matching can be conducted among the results of the first match. In this way, the associated costs of specification matching will be dramatically dropped by the restriction of the search space (you'll pay for what you use). The proposed specification match also tries to take advantage of the characteristics of OO class libraries (i.e. inheritance and design by contract principles). We will show how these can improve both performance and accuracy of matching queries with components.
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