The Meta in Meta-object Architectures

Marcus Denker 1, * Mathieu Suen 2 Stéphane Ducasse 2
* Corresponding author
2 RMOD - Analyses and Languages Constructs for Object-Oriented Application Evolution
LIFL - Laboratoire d'Informatique Fondamentale de Lille, Inria Lille - Nord Europe
Abstract : Behavioral reflection is crucial to support for example functional upgrades, on-the-fly debugging, or monitoring critical applications. However the use of reflective features can lead to severe problems due to infinite metacall recursion even in simple cases. This is especially a problem when reflecting on core language features since there is a high chance that such features are used to implement the reflective behavior itself. In this paper we analyze the problem of infinite metaob ject call recursion and solve it by providing a first class representation of meta-level execution: at any point in the execution of a system it can be determined if we are operating on a meta-level or base level so that we can prevent infinite recursion. We present how meta-level execution can be represented by a meta-context and how reflection becomes context-aware. Our solution makes it possible to freely apply behavioral reflection even on system classes: the meta-context brings stability to behavioral reflection. We validate the concept with a robust implementation and we present benchmarks.
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Marcus Denker, Mathieu Suen, Stéphane Ducasse. The Meta in Meta-object Architectures. TOOLS-EUROPE, Jun 2008, Zurich, Switzerland. pp.218-237, ⟨10.1007/978-3-540-69824-1_13⟩. ⟨inria-00271286⟩

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