2010/09/16

Conference Report: TOOLS’10

Filed under: Conference Report — Tags: — Jan Vitek @ 18:05
The 2010 TOOLS Federated Conference Series tool place between the 28th of June and the 2nd of July in Málaga Spain. TOOLS has been around the block a  few times, 48 times to be exact.  The conference was founded in 1989 by Bertrand Meyer as a place where practical results in object-oriented technology could be published. After a hiatus from 2002 to 2006, TOOLS reinvented itself as a Federated Conference consisting of the International Conference on Model Transformation (ICMT), Tests and Proofs (TAP), Software Composition (SC) and TOOLS Europe. For the first three years of the new formula, TOOLS was held in Zürich and financially supported by the Chair of Software Engineering at ETHZ and Eiffel Software. This year was the federation’s first time away from home and it has been a great success. The flawless hospitality of Antonio Vallecillo and his team from the University of Málaga and a wonderful weather conspired to make TOOLS a success. The program included nine workshops: Business System Management and Engineering, Dynamic Languages and Applications, Model Comparison in Practice, Model-Driven Service Engineering, Model Transformations with ATL, Quantitative Approaches on Object-Oriented Software Engineering and Related Paradigms, Transformation Tool Contest, Transforming and Weaving Ontologies and Model Driven Engineering, and Component and Service Interoperability. There were eight invited speakers: Stefano Ceri (Milano), Oege de Moor (Oxford), Betrand Meyer (ETHZ), Ivar Jacobson (IJI), Michael Ernst (Washington), Nachi Nagapan (Microsoft) and Valérie Issarny (INRIA).  Videos of their talks are available here.
The technical program of TOOLS Europe itself consisted of 16 papers selected with care from 60 strong submissions. Dynamic languages were well represented in the program. Arnaud et al.’s Read-only Execution for Dynamic Languages proposes a dynamic view mechanism on object references to prevent updates in Smalltalk (using the new Pharo VM). JavaScript was the topic of Phillip Heidegger’s talk on Contract-Driven Testing where an automated tool (download) for generating test cases from behavioral contracts is presented for JavaScript. In this work the specifications are mostly type-like properties and value ranges but even such simple properties are quite challenging to check in JavaScript. Stephen Nelson presented a more focused study of contracts in Understanding the Impact of Collection Contracts on Design. The work focuses on the equality contract between collection classes and the objects it contains. The contract is that equality should not change while an object is within a collection even if the object’s state changes. The contribution is an extensive analysis of the behavior of a corpus of Java programs taken from the Qualitas Corpus. Statically typed languages were also represented with, amongst others, the presentation by Ostlund of Welterweight Java a new formalism for researchers looking for a formal calculus that approximates Java and, unlike FeatherweightJava, supports threads and state. Ernst presented Revisiting Parametric Types and Virtual Classes which sheds light on the power of virtual constraints, a mechanism available in gbeta and Scala, for type refinement. Lastly, Renggli bridged static and dynamic languages with Domain-Specific Program Checking which argues for static checking of DSLs embedded in Smalltalk.
Many photos are on the Facebook page of the conference (here) where you can find the results of the TOOLS photo contest.

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