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An In-Depth Look at ALIA4J

Bockisch, Christoph and Sewe, Andreas and Yin, Haihan and Mezini, Mira and Aksit, Mehmet (2012):
An In-Depth Look at ALIA4J.
In: The Journal of Object Technology, pp. 1-28, 11, (1), ISSN 1660-1769,
[Online-Edition: http://dx.doi.org/10.5381/jot.2012.11.1.a7],
[Article]

Abstract

New programming languages supporting advanced modularization mechanisms are often implemented as transformations to the imperative intermediate representation of an already established language. But while their core constructs largely overlap in semantics, re-using the corresponding transformations requires re-using their syntax as well; this is limiting. In the ALIA4J approach, we identified \emph{dispatching} as fundamental to most modularization mechanisms and provide a meta-model of dispatching as a rich, extensible intermediate language. Based on this meta-model, one can modularly implement the semantics of dispatching-related constructs. From said constructs a single execution model can then be derived which facilitates interpretation, bytecode generation, and even optimized machine-code generation. We show the suitability of our approach by mapping five popular languages to this meta-model and find that most of their constructs are shared across multiple languages. We furthermore present implementations of the three different execution strategies together with a generic visual debugger available to any ALIA4J-based language implementation. Intertwined with this paper is a tutorial-style running example that illustrates our approach.

Item Type: Article
Erschienen: 2012
Creators: Bockisch, Christoph and Sewe, Andreas and Yin, Haihan and Mezini, Mira and Aksit, Mehmet
Title: An In-Depth Look at ALIA4J
Language: English
Abstract:

New programming languages supporting advanced modularization mechanisms are often implemented as transformations to the imperative intermediate representation of an already established language. But while their core constructs largely overlap in semantics, re-using the corresponding transformations requires re-using their syntax as well; this is limiting. In the ALIA4J approach, we identified \emph{dispatching} as fundamental to most modularization mechanisms and provide a meta-model of dispatching as a rich, extensible intermediate language. Based on this meta-model, one can modularly implement the semantics of dispatching-related constructs. From said constructs a single execution model can then be derived which facilitates interpretation, bytecode generation, and even optimized machine-code generation. We show the suitability of our approach by mapping five popular languages to this meta-model and find that most of their constructs are shared across multiple languages. We furthermore present implementations of the three different execution strategies together with a generic visual debugger available to any ALIA4J-based language implementation. Intertwined with this paper is a tutorial-style running example that illustrates our approach.

Journal or Publication Title: The Journal of Object Technology
Volume: 11
Number: 1
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dispatching mechanisms; multiple dispatching; predicate dispatching; pointcut-advice; advanced dispatching; modular language implementation; virtual machines; just-in-time compilation; debugging
Divisions: 20 Department of Computer Science > Software Technology
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren > CASED – Center for Advanced Security Research Darmstadt
20 Department of Computer Science
Zentrale Einrichtungen
LOEWE
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2012 13:31
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5381/jot.2012.11.1.a7
Identification Number: doi:10.5381/jot.2012.11.1.a7
Related URLs:
Funders: Center for Advanced Security Research Darmstadt (CASED)
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