Integrating, Customizing, and Extending Environments with a Message-Based Architecture

Arnold, John E.; Popovich, Steven S.

Message-based architectures have typically been used for integrating an engineer‘s set of tools as in FIELD and SoftBench. This paper presents our experience using a message-based architecture to integrate complex, multi-user environments. Where this style of control integration has been effective for encapsulating independent tools within an environment, we show that these techniques are also useful for integrating environments themselves. Our experience comes from our integration of two types of process-centered software development environments: a groupware application that implements a Fagan-style code inspection process and a software development process environment where code inspection is a single step in the overall process. We use a message-based mechanism to federate the two process engines such that the two process formalisms complement rather than compete with each other. Moreover, we see that the two process engines can provide some synergy when used in a single, integrated software process environment, Specifically, the integrated environment uses the process modeling and enactment services of one process engine to customize and extend the code inspection process implemented in a different process engine. The customization and extension of the original collaborative application was accomplished without modifying the application. This was possible because the integration mechanism was designed for multi-user, distributed evironments and encouraged the use of an environment‘s services by other environments. The results of our study indicate that the message-based architecture originally conceived for tool-oriented control integration is equally well-suited for environment integration.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-008-95
Published Here
February 7, 2012