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Integrating Classes with a System Infrastructure

Other transformations change classes to integrate them into some runtime environment. This idea generalizes the use of ATOM or BIT to instrument code to drive an on-the-fly simulation, by inserting code to report selected events (e.g., branches or method calls) to the simulator. This technique can be used for other purposes as well. Some possibilities include integrating imported classes with local system environments that support object caching, distribution, debugging, or visualization.

The transformers for these environments have similar structures. First, the transformer must identify the points in the code that handle events of interest to the system environment, e.g., object instantiation or method invocation. The transformer then splices calls to the environment at these points, passing any necessary information as arguments.

For example, a debugging environment may be interested in the values of parameters to methods, return values, etc. A debug transformer would identify areas of interest and insert calls to the environment, allowing a user perhaps to visualize and see results of the computation. The advantage of this approach is that the debugging calls are inserted only at load time; if the user does not require them, they are not inserted at all, reducing the size of the transported class. Also, note that running the debug version of the code requires no special JVM, and only areas of interest are transformed.

Geoff Alex Cohen
Tue Apr 28 14:31:49 EDT 1998