School of computer science and informatics, cardiff university

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school of computer science and informatics, cardiff university

Assessment of the aspect-oriented programming paradigm

Rhys O’Sullivan – MSc Computer Science

Supervised by Dr. Andrew Jones

September 2013

Table of Contents

Declaration and Statements 3

Abstract 4

Acknowledgements 4

1. Introduction 5

2. Aims and Objectives 7

3. Background 9

Aspect-Oriented Programming 9

AspectJ 11

Current Status 13

Object-Oriented Programming 13

Java 14

Eclipse 15

4. Critical Analysis of Research Material 16

5. Approach & Methodology 18

General Rules 18

Core Functionality 18

Best Practice 19

Schedule of Experiment 21

Surveying 21

Testing 22

Relational Database 23

Project Management 23

6. Java Design & Implementation 25

Testing 28

7. AspectJ Design & Implementation 30

General Considerations 30

SQL Related Aspects 30

Static Crosscutting & Program Rules 32

Graphical User Interface (GUI) 33

Logging 35

Testing 36

8. Analysis 38

Results of Surveying 38

Programming Experience 40

Hypothesis Evaluation 43

9. Reflection 45

Research Process 45

Other Lessons 46

Further Work 47

10. Conclusion 48

References 49

Code Sources 51

Tools 51

Bibliography 52

Appendix A: Java Test Plan for Graphical User Interface 53

Appendix B: AspectJ Test Plan 55

Appendix C: Relational Database Model Diagram 57

Appendix D: AOP and AspectJ Questionnaire and Solutions 58

Appendix E: UML Diagrams 60

Appendix F: GUI Mockups 63

Appendix G: Source Code Running Instructions 67

Declaration and Statements

Candidate’s ID Number


Candidate’s Surname


Candidate’s Full Forenames

Rhys John


This work has not previously been accepted in substances for any degree and is not concurrently submitted in candidature for any degree.

Signed: Date: 12/09/2013


This dissertation is being submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc.

Signed: Date: 12/09/2013


This dissertation is the result of my own independent work/investigation, except where otherwise stated. Other sources are acknowledged by footnotes giving explicit references. A bibliography is appended.

Signed: Date: 12/09/2013


I hereby give consent for my dissertation, if accepted, to be available for photocopying and for inter-library loan, and for the title and summary to be made available to outside organisations.

Signed: Date: 12/09/2013


I hereby give consent for my dissertation, if accepted, to be available for photocopying and for inter-library loans after expiry of a bar on access approved by the Graduate Development Committee.

Signed: Date: 12/09/2013


This thesis explores the potential of aspect-oriented programming, a relatively recent programming paradigm which addresses the problem of crosscutting concerns across software entities. A practical assessment was adopted to design and implement a banking management system in both Java and AspectJ, a general-purpose aspect-oriented extension of Java. Both systems were designed to have identical functionality and behaviour, according to a strict methodology to ensure a fair comparison, but achieve them through different design models. Assessed against criteria such as usability, readability, testing and continuation of object-oriented concepts, the results showed that despite its difficulty in gaining acceptance, aspect-oriented concepts continue to work with existing tools and techniques, whilst promoting higher modularisation and abstraction of code without affecting the performance of output programs. This report highly recommended further exploration of aspect-oriented programming at a larger scale, especially when working with a team of programmers rather than just one person.


Firstly, I must acknowledge and thank Dr. Andrew Jones for his supervision over the past four months. Our discussions have been useful for understanding the level required for a strong dissertation and for suggestions of improvements and issues to think about. Dr. Jones also suggested the subject matter of this thesis.

Thanks should also be directed to those that completed the questionnaire associated with this thesis, particularly Jonny for doing the test run.

Finally, to my parents for their continued support throughout, and my friends, both on the course and away from it, for making the past year a great experience. Diolch yn fawr i chi!

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