Reifying the Reflectogram: Towards Explicit Control for Implicit Reflection

Nikolaos Papoulias 1, * Marcus Denker 1 Stéphane Ducasse 1 Luc Fabresse 2
* Corresponding author
1 RMOD - Analyses and Languages Constructs for Object-Oriented Application Evolution
Inria Lille - Nord Europe, CRIStAL - Centre de Recherche en Informatique, Signal et Automatique de Lille (CRIStAL) - UMR 9189
Abstract : Reflective facilities in OO languages are used both for implementing language extensions (such as AOP frameworks) and for support-ing new programming tools and methodologies (such as object-centric debugging and message-based profiling). Yet controlling the run-time behavior of these reflective facilities introduces several challenges, such as computational overhead, the possibility of meta-recursion and an unclean separation of concerns between base and meta-level. In this paper we present five dimensions of meta-level control from related literature that try to remedy these problems. These dimensions are namely: temporal and spatial control, place-ment control, level control and identity control. We argue that the reification of the descriptive notion of the reflectogram, can unify the control of meta-level execution in all these five dimensions. We present a model for the reification of the reflectogram and validate our approach through a prototype implementation in the Pharo pro-gramming environment. Finally we detail a case-study on run-time tracing illustrating our approach.
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Nikolaos Papoulias, Marcus Denker, Stéphane Ducasse, Luc Fabresse. Reifying the Reflectogram: Towards Explicit Control for Implicit Reflection. 30th ACM/SIGAPP Symposium On Applied Computing, Apr 2015, Salamanca, Spain. ⟨10.1145/2695664.2695883⟩. ⟨hal-01098596⟩

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