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Reports (Research Report) Year : 2011

Aspect Oriented Programming: a language for 2-categories


Aspect Oriented Programming (AOP) started ten years ago with the remark that modularization of so-called crosscutting functionalities is a fundamental problem for the engineering of large-scale applications. Originating at Xerox PARC, this observation has sparked the development of a new style of programming featured that is gradually gaining traction, as it is the case for the related concept of code injection, in the guise of frameworks such as Swing and Google Guice. However, AOP lacks theoretical foundations to clarify this new idea. This paper proposes to put a bridge between AOP and the notion of 2-category to enhance the conceptual understanding of AOP. Starting from the connection between the $\lambda$-calculus and the theory of categories, we propose to see an aspect as a morphism between morphisms---that is as a program that transforms the execution of a program. To make this connection precise, we develop an advised lambda-calculus that provides an internal language for 2-categories and show how it can be used as a base for the definition of the weaving mechanism of a realistic functional AOP language, called MinAML. Finally, we advocate for a formalization of more complex AOP languages (eg. with references or exceptions) using the notion of enriched Lawvere theories.


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Dates and versions

inria-00470400 , version 1 (06-04-2010)
inria-00470400 , version 2 (03-02-2011)
inria-00470400 , version 3 (08-02-2011)


  • HAL Id : inria-00470400 , version 3


Nicolas Tabareau. Aspect Oriented Programming: a language for 2-categories. [Research Report] RR-7527, INRIA. 2011, pp.30. ⟨inria-00470400v3⟩
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