CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Information Systems (DCIS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Francisco Mitropoulos

Committee Member

Wei Li

Committee Member

Junping Sun

Abstract

Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD) is a new approach that addresses limitations inherent in conventional programming, especially the principle of separation of concerns by emphasizing the encapsulation and modularization of crosscutting concerns through a new abstraction, the "aspect." Aspect-oriented programming is an emerging AOSD programming paradigm that focuses on the modularization of concerns as appropriate for the host language and providing a mechanism for describing concerns that crosscut each other by congealing into a single textual structure behavior that conventional programming would otherwise distribute throughout the code. AspectJ is the most widely used aspect-oriented programming language to date and provides an extension of the Java language that includes several new concepts and constructs that differ from those in procedural and object-oriented programs. These include join points, pointcuts, advice, inter-type declarations, introduction and aspects. In AspectJ, as well as other aspect-oriented programming languages, "aspects" package pointcuts and advice into functional units in much the same way that object-oriented programming uses classes to package fields and methods into cohesive units but they offer a unique set of problems. Software inspections are considered a software engineering "best practice" for ensuring quality, but the introduction of new aspect-oriented programming language mechanisms drives the need for them to be tailored in a similar manner to how they were tailored to support object-oriented programs and the procedural programs. The identification of faults unique to aspect-oriented programming allowed for the design of an aspect fault model and the associated software inspection checklists criteria that provide a description of the typical faults associated with aspects and the clues that aid in betraying their presence. The proposed methodology for this research entailed a mixed methods approach based on a combination of descriptive and exploratory research methodologies using a normative case study. The proposed methodology resulted in the development of an understanding of the AspectJ primitive pointcut construct, identification of the typical faults associated with this construct and the subsequent development of a fault model, a set of programming rules and tailored software inspection checklist. A case study was conducted comparing defects detected by an inspection checklist tailored for AspectJ with one that was not tailored. The results of the case study demonstrated using software inspection checklists not tailored would result in many faults unique to aspect-oriented programming going undetected.

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