Robusta: An approach to building dynamic applications

Walter Rudametkin 1
1 LIG Laboratoire d'Informatique de Grenoble - ADELE
LIG - Laboratoire d'Informatique de Grenoble
Abstract : Current areas of research, such as ubiquitous and cloud computing, consider execution environments to be in a constant state of change. Dynamic applications--where components can be added, removed and substituted during execution--allow software to adapt and adjust to changing environments, and to accommodate evolving features. Unfortunately, dynamic applications raise design and development issues that have yet to be fully addressed.
In this dissertation we show that dynamism is a crosscutting concern that breaks many of the assumptions that developers are otherwise allowed to make in classic applications. Dynamism deeply impacts software design and development. If not handled correctly, dynamism can silently corrupt the application. Furthermore, writing dynamic applications is complex and error-prone, and given the level of complexity and the impact dynamism has on the development process, software cannot become dynamic without (extensive) modification and dynamism cannot be entirely transparent (although much of it may often be externalized or automated).
This work focuses on giving the software architect control over the level, the nature and the granularity of dynamism that is required in dynamic applications. This allows architects and developers to choose where the efforts of programming dynamic components are best spent, avoiding the cost and complexity of making all components dynamic. The idea is to allow architects to determine the balance between the efforts spent and the level of dynamism required for the application's needs.
At design-time we perform an impact analysis using the architect's requirements for dynamism. This serves to identify components that can be corrupted by dynamism and to--at the architect's disposition--render selected components resilient to dynamism. The application becomes a well-defined mix of dynamic areas, where components are expected to change at runtime, and static areas that are protected from dynamism and where programming is simpler and less restrictive.
At runtime, our framework ensures the application remains consistent--even after unexpected dynamic events--by computing and removing potentially corrupt components. The framework attempts to recover quickly from dynamism and to minimize the impact of dynamism on the application.
Our work builds on recent Software Engineering and Middleware technologies--namely, OSGi, iPOJO and APAM--that provide basic mechanisms to handle dynamism, such as dependency injection, late-binding, service availability notifications, deployment, lifecycle and dependency management. Our approach, implemented in the Robusta prototype, extends and complements these technologies by providing design and development-time support, and enforcing application execution consistency in the face of dynamism.
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Walter Rudametkin. Robusta: An approach to building dynamic applications. Software Engineering [cs.SE]. Université de Grenoble, 2013. English. ⟨tel-00948174⟩

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