Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Static Static Extraction of Object-Oriented
Runtime Architectures

Marwan Abi-Antoun, Jonathan Aldrich

March 2008

A shorter version of this report will appear as
"Static Extraction of Sound Hierachical Runtime Object Graphs"
in Proceedings of the ACM SIGPLAN Workshop on
Types in Language Design and Implementation (TLDI), January 2009.


Keywords: Runtime architecture, architecture extraction, architecture recovery, component-and-connector views, ownership domains, object graphs

For many object-oriented systems, it is useful to have a runtime architecture, that shows networks of objects. But it is hard to statically extract runtime object graphs that provide architectural abstraction from an arbitrary program written in a general purpose language that follows common design idioms. Previous approaches extract low-level non-hierarchical object graphs that do not provide architectural abstraction, change the language too radically for many existing implementations, or use a dynamic analysis.

Static analysis, which takes all possible executions into account, is essential to extract a sound architecture, one that reveals all entities and relations that could possibly exist at runtime. Ownership domain type annotations specify in code architectural intent related to object encapsulation and communication. We propose a static analysis that leverages such types and extracts a hierarchical approximation of all possible runtime object graphs. The representation provides architectural abstraction, first by ownership hierarchy, and then by types. We proved core soundness results for the technique and evaluated it on several extended examples of medium-sized representative programs that we annotated manually.

54 pages

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