Aspectual Collaborations: Combining Modules and Aspects


Complex behavior often resists clean modularization in object-oriented languages. Aspect-oriented programming tackles this problem by providing flexible module boundaries that can span and partition classes. However, in order to achieve this flexibility, valuable modularity mechanisms, such as encapsulation and external composition, are lost. The ability to separately compile or reason about a modular unit is also compromised. We propose that this tradeoff is not necessary, and that by expressing aspects as part of our modules, we can restore lost modular properties while maintaining aspectual features. As a concrete demonstration, we present the main features of Aspectual Collaborations, and show how these interact to combine modularity with aspectual behavior. The expressiveness of Aspectual Collaborations, AspectJ, and Hyper/J are compared using a challenge problem, allowing us to estimate the effectiveness of the approach.

The Computer Journal
David H. Lorenz
David H. Lorenz
Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science

Senior Faculty at Open University