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A reflective model for first class dependencies

by S. Ducasse, M. Blay-Fornarino, A. M. Pinna-Dery
ACM SIGPLAN Notices ()

Abstract

We propose a reflective model to express and to automatically manage dependencies between objects. This model describes reflective facilities which enable the changing of language semantics. Although the importance of inter-object dependencies is well accepted, there is only limited object-oriented language support for their specification and implementation. In response to this lack of expressiveness of object models, the FLO language integrates dependency management into the object oriented paradigm. Dependencies are described as first class objects and FLO automatically maintains the consistency of the dependency graph.In this paper, we first show how a user can declare dependencies and how the system maintains the consistency of the graph of expressed dependencies. In a second part, we focus on the implementation of this management by controlling the messages sent to linked objects. In order to make dependency management orthogonal to other application concerns, we propose an abstraction of message handling, implemented with meta-objects. We illustrate the extensibility of our language with different control behavior implementations, in particular we study different implementations of the global control of message propagation flow.

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