TOOLS Europe 2012 Special Section

Filed under: Editorial — Jan Vitek @ 10:40

Carlo A. Furia  and   Sebastian Nanz

The 50th International Conference on Objects, Models, Components, Patterns (TOOLS Europe 2012) was the closing event in a series of symposia devoted to object technology and its applications. The conference program included 24 paper presentations covering a broad range of topics, from programming languages to models and development practices. This variety, typical of the TOOLS conferences, is a sign of the vast success of object technology and of its theoretical underpinnings.

This Special Section of the Journal of Object Technology (JOT) consists of the extended versions of two contributions selected among those presented at TOOLS Europe 2012. We picked these two pieces of work among those receiving the most positive reviews before the conference, raising substantial interest at the conference, and passing the muster of additional thorough refereeing for this Special Section after the conference. Besides being mature and high-quality research work in their own right, the two papers target topics that are indicative of the vitality of object technology even now that it has become commonplace.

Lilis and Savidis’s paper “An Integrated Approach to Source Level Debugging and Compile Error Reporting in Metaprograms” discusses techniques and tools to improve the readability and understandability of error reporting with metaprograms — that is, programs that generate other programs, such as the template programming constructs available in C++. Their solution is capable of tracing errors along the complete sequence of compilation stages and also targets aspects of IDE integration. It is also fully implemented and available for download: note the demonstration video linked to at the end of the article.

Wernli, Lungu, and Nierstrasz’s paper “Incremental Dynamic Updates with First-class Contexts” tackles a difficult problem frequently present in complex software systems that must be highly available: how to reduce the downtime required to perform system updates. Their solution hinges on turning contexts into first-class entities. Their Theseus system is thus capable of performing updates incrementally, with different threads running in parallel on different versions of the same class. The conference version of this paper also won the TOOLS 2012 Best Paper Award sponsored by the European Association for Programming Languages and Systems (EAPLS).

We are glad to be able to offer such an interesting Special Section to readers of JOT. We thank Antonio Vallecillo for suggesting this Special Section. We thank the anonymous referees for their punctual and dedicated work, instrumental in guaranteeing high quality presentations; and we thank the authors for choosing TOOLS Europe and JOT to present some of their most interesting research work.


Changing of the guard

Filed under: Editorial — Jan Vitek @ 04:04
The Journal of Object Technology is the only open access academic publication dedicated to object-orientation in all its forms. Objects have been with me for my entire scientific career, it is thus an honor to take over from outgoing editor in chief Oscar Nierstrasz.  My goal  as the next editor of JOT is first and foremost to continue on the path blazed by Oscar, strengthening the scientific quality and increasing the readership of JOT.  One challenge that a journal like JOT faces is to find its proper place in the changing landscape of scientific publishing. Why should authors submit to JOT rather than to a conference or to another journal? Unlike most conferences, journals allow a dialogue between authors and reviewers, one that leads to improved papers rather than simple binary decisions. As to why JOT, I believe that our editorial board is unique in its composition and ensures that papers on topics related to object technology will receive some the best and most helpful expert reviews from world-renowned experts who share a passion for objects.

Jan Vitek


Dahl-Nygaard Prize awarded to Chambers and Igarashi

Filed under: Announcement,Uncategorized — Tags: — Jan Vitek @ 11:08

AITO is proud to announce the Dahl-Nygaard Prizes for 2011. The Senior Prize will be given to Craig Chambers, Google, for the design of the Cecil object-oriented programming language and his work on compiler techniques used to implement object-oriented languages efficiently on modern architectures. The Junior Prize will be given to Atsushi Igarashi, Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, for his investigations into the foundation of object-oriented programming languages and their type systems. More information is available from AITO and the  ECOOP web page.


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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