Refraction: Low-Cost Management of Reflective Meta-Data in Pervasive Component-Based Applications

Daniels W, Proença J, Clarke D, Joosen W, Hughes D.  2015.  Refraction: Low-Cost Management of Reflective Meta-Data in Pervasive Component-Based Applications. Proceedings of the 18th International Symposium on Component-Based Software Engineering - CBSE. :27–36.

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This paper proposes the concept of refraction, a principled means to lower the cost of managing reflective meta-data for pervasive systems. While prior work has demonstrated the benefits of reflective component-based middleware for building open and reconfigurable applications, the cost of using remote reflective operations remains high. Refractive components address this problem by selectively augmenting application data flows with their reflective meta-data, which travels at low cost to refractive pools, which serve as loci of inspection and control for the distributed application. Additionally reactive policies are introduced, providing a mechanism to trigger reconfigurations based on incoming reflective meta-data. We evaluate the performance of refraction in a case-study of automatic configuration repair for a real-world pervasive application. We show that refraction reduces network overhead in comparison to the direct use of reflective operations while not increasing development overhead. To enable further experimentation with the concept of refraction, we provide RxCom, an open-source refractive component model and supporting runtime environment.

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