Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Sciences - (Ph.D.)

Department

Computer and Information Science

First Advisor

Franz J. Kurfess

Second Advisor

Murat Tanik

Third Advisor

Daochuan Hung

Fourth Advisor

Joseph Y-T. Leung

Fifth Advisor

C. V. Ramamoorthy

Sixth Advisor

Donald H. Sebastian

Seventh Advisor

Gary L. Thomas

Abstract

The issues confronting the software development community today are significantly different from the problems it faced only a decade ago. Advances in software development tools and technologies during the last two decades have greatly enhanced the ability to leverage large amounts of software for creating new applications through the reuse of software libraries and application frameworks. The problems facing organizations today are increasingly focused around systems integration and the creation of information flows.

Software modeling based on the assembly of reusable components to support software development has not been successfully implemented on a wide scale. Several models for reusable software components have been suggested which primarily address the wiring-level connectivity problem. While this is considered necessary, it is not sufficient to support an automated process of component assembly. Two critical issues that remain unresolved are: (1) semantic modeling of components, and (2) deployment process that supports automated assembly. The first issue can be addressed through domain-based standardization that would make it possible for independent developers to produce interoperable components based on a common set of vocabulary and understanding of the problem domain. This is important not only for providing a semantic basis for developing components but also for the interoperability between systems. The second issue is important for two reasons: (a) eliminate the need for developers to be involved in the final assembly of software components, and (b) provide a basis for the development process to be potentially driven by the user. To resolve the above remaining issues (1) and (2) a late binding mechanism between components based on meta-protocols is required. In this dissertation we address the above issues by proposing a generic framework for the development of software components and an interconnection language, COMPILE, for the specification of software systems from components. The computational model of the COMPILE language is based on late and dynamic binding of the components' control, data, and function properties. The use of asynchronous callbacks for method invocation allows control binding among components to be late and dynamic. Data exchanged between components is defined through the use of a meta- language that can describe the semantics of the information but without being bound to any specific programming language type representation. Late binding to functions is accomplished by maintaining domain-based semantics as component metainformation. This information allows clients of components to map generic requested service to specific functions.

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