Design dimensions of aspect-oriented systems
Aspect-oriented software development is a promising approach that addresses the problem of modularizing crosscutting concerns – concerns whose implementation cannot be modularized due to the set of abstractions provided by the underlying programming language as well as due to the set of decomposition criteria applied to the underlying problem. Thereto, aspect-oriented systems provide additional abstractions in order to increase the modularity of software systems and consequently to increase the system’s readability, understandability, maintainability and reusability. Nowadays, there are already a number of so-called aspect-oriented systems available that supply a set of new constructs to address the given problem. However, it is not clear what the criteria for a system are in order to be called aspect-oriented and what commonalities and differences exist among different aspect-oriented systems. This also implies that for a given crosscutting concern it cannot be determined on an abstract level what system is able to modularize such a concern in an appropriate way. This thesis describes the characteristics of aspect-oriented systems by so-called design dimensions – orthogonal, conceptual views on the core ingredients of aspect-oriented systems that determine the underlying implementation. It is shown that by means of such abstract design dimensions it is possible to estimate the appropriateness of a system with respect to modularize a given crosscutting concern.
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