CSG 260 Advanced Software Development

Tools for Systems Biology


A new programming technology is emerging, called Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP) and more generally, Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD, see aosd.net). This technology provides well-modularized implementations of crosscutting concerns leading to more flexible and simpler programs. Adaptive Object-Oriented Software Development is an interesting subfield of AOSD focussing on a very useful family of crosscutting concerns, called traversal-related concerns. Conversely, we consider aspect-oriented software development as a special case of a general notion of adaptive programming in that good aspect-oriented programs are adaptive.

This course provides state-of-the-art techniques and concepts for software development with a focus on proper separation of concerns. We will review the history of software development and encounter different techniques for separation of concerns like functions and objects. We will identify limitations in current software development practice that lead to bad separation of concerns. We will touch on general-purpose aspect-oriented techniques (AspectJ) that lead to better separation of concerns. Then we will identify limitations in those general-purpose techniques and point to special purpose aspect-oriented techniques. We will use the Demeter Method as an example of a special purpose aspect-oriented technique.

This course introduces both the aspect-oriented and adaptive approach to software development and compares them to other approaches. Loose coupling between software artifacts is a theme used throughout the course. Specifically, we will learn about loose coupling between structure and behavior which leads to adaptiveness. Adaptive programming views "structure" as an aspect which crosscuts behavior. We will also look at many other aspects such as synchronization and remote invocation. We will study the basic concepts of aspect-oriented programming (an AOP system has five key ingredients) and how they relate to the concepts of adaptive programming.

Course Objectives: Learn new skills in software development which allow you to develop significantly more flexible software. Acquire a working understanding of AOP through the use of AspectJ. Acquire a clear understanding of the adaptive object-oriented paradigm through five architectural patterns; Structure-Shy Traversal, Selective Visitor, Structure-Shy Object, Class Graph and Growth Plan. Apply the aspect-oriented paradigm and the adaptive object-oriented paradigm to problems solving, including the implementation of a project. Understand the connections between the adaptive object-oriented approach and the aspect-oriented approach and how they fit into generative programming.