Jakob Henriksson

A Lightweight Framework for Universal Fragment Composition

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Kurzfassung in Englisch

Domain-specific languages (DSLs) are useful tools for coping with complexity in software development. DSLs provide developers with appropriate constructs for specifying and solving the problems they are faced with. While the exact definition of DSLs can vary, they can roughly be divided into two categories: embedded and non-embedded. Embedded DSLs (E-DSLs) are integrated into general-purpose host languages (e.g. Java), while non-embedded DSLs (NE-DSLs) are standalone languages with their own tooling (e.g. compilers or interpreters). NE-DSLs can for example be found on the Semantic Web where they are used for querying or describing shared domain models (ontologies). A common theme with DSLs is naturally their support of focused expressive power. However, in many cases they do not support non–domain-specific component-oriented constructs that can be useful for developers. Such constructs are standard in general-purpose languages (procedures, methods, packages, libraries etc.). While E-DSLs have access to such constructs via their host languages, NE-DSLs do not have this opportunity. Instead, to support such notions, each of these languages have to be extended and their tooling updated accordingly. Such modifications can be costly and must be done individually for each language. A solution method for one language cannot easily be reused for another. There currently exist no appropriate technology for tackling this problem in a general manner. Apart from identifying the need for a general approach to address this issue, we extend existing composition technology to provide a language-inclusive solution. We build upon fragment-based composition techniques and make them applicable to arbitrary (context-free) languages. We call this process for the composition techniques’ universalization. The techniques are called fragment-based since their view of components— reusable software units with interfaces—are pieces of source code that conform to an underlying (context-free) language grammar. The universalization process is grammar-driven: given a base language grammar and a description of the compositional needs wrt. the composition techniques, an adapted grammar is created that corresponds to the specified needs. The result is thus an adapted grammar that forms the foundation for allowing to define and compose the desired fragments. We further build upon this grammar-driven universalization approach to allow developers to define the non–domain-specific component-oriented constructs that are needed for NE-DSLs. Developers are able to define both what those constructs should be, and how they are to be interpreted (via composition). Thus, developers can effectively define language extensions and their semantics. This solution is presented in a framework that can be reused for different languages, even if their notion of ‘components’ differ. To demonstrate the approach and show its applicability, we apply it to two Semantic Web related NE-DSLs that are in need of component-oriented constructs. We introduce modules to the rule-based Web query language Xcerpt and role models to the Web Ontology Language OWL.

weitere Metadaten

software composition, fragment composition, software modularization, semantic web
Softwarekomposition, Fragmentkomposition, Softwaremodularisierung, Semantisches Web
DDC Klassifikation004
RVK KlassifikationST 230
InstitutionTechnische Universität Dresden
BetreuerProf. Uwe Assmann
GutachterProf. Uwe Assmann
Prof. Michael Schröder
Prof. Welf Löwe
Tag d. Einreichung (bei der Fakultät)14.10.2008
Tag d. Verteidigung / Kolloquiums / Prüfung19.12.2008
Veröffentlichungsdatum (online)06.01.2009
persistente URNurn:nbn:de:bsz:14-ds-1231251831567-11763

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