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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Behavioural concern modelling for software change tasks Lai, Albert Yee-Hang

Abstract

Many modification tasks on an existing software system result in changes to code that crosscuts the system's structure. Making these changes is difficult because a developer must understand large parts of the system and must reason about how the modification will interact with the existing behaviour. Most of the time, developers attempt to make a change use an ad-hoc process with tools that help in gaining some understanding of the existing system, but which do not provide any specific support for reasoning about, implementing, or analyzing the modification. This thesis presents the Behavioural Concern Modelling (BCM) approach and tool that provide direct support for a systematic approach to modification tasks. This approach helps a developer create a partial, abstract, grounded behavioural model of a concern or concerns. The model is grounded in that the relationship between the model and the code is explicit: A developer describes which code contributes to each part of the model. The examples described use a finite state machine as a model and show how the approach can help a developer capture a concern, reason about design options, and implement modifications.

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