Technical Reports

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UBC CS TR-99-13 Summary

Using Implicit Context to Ease Software Evolution and Reuse, November 11, 1999 Robert J. Walker and Gail C. Murphy, 11 pages

Software systems should consist of simple, conceptually clean components interacting along narrow, well-defined paths. All too often, this is not reality: complex components end up interacting for reasons unrelated to the functionality they provide. We refer to knowledge within a component that is not conceptually required for the individual behaviour of that component as extraneous embedded knowledge (EEK). EEK creeps in to a system in many forms, including dependences upon particular names and the passing of extraneous parameters. This paper proposes implicit context as a means for reducing EEK in systems. Implicit context combines a mechanism to reflect upon what has happened in a system through queries on the call history with a mechanism for altering calls to and from a component. We demonstrate the benefits of implicit context by describing its use to reduce EEK in the Java Swing library.

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