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System and Method for Incremental Synchronization of Software Artifacts Disclosure Number: IPCOM000212331D
Publication Date: 2011-Nov-07
Document File: 4 page(s) / 37K

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The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a system and method for incremental synchronization of software artifacts. The approach treats the original artifact generators as black boxes, and as such, other than some generic assumptions about the type of the transformation, it requires no detailed knowledge of the consistency rules. Unlike approaches based on incremental transformation engines, the proposed model synchronization framework does not require the identification of model dependencies to ensure the consistency of the artifacts, when a collection of unidirectional artifact generator transformations is available.

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System and Method for Incremental Synchronization of Software Artifacts

Throughout their life-cycle, software artifacts are constantly maintained and evolved. These maintenance and evolution activities are applied in an incremental way in iterative evolution cycles. The software artifacts being maintained include requirements, architecture, design, and implementation entities that are logical interdependent entities. As such, changes made to one, impacts the others. Modern integrated development environments (IDESs) aim to provide a workspace where these artifacts can be programmatically accessed and manipulated. In this respect, IDEs strive to provide facilities for transparent and effective propagation of changes across the diverse artifacts of the workspace. During development, maintenance and evolution phases, a manifold of models and artifacts could be subject to miscellaneous transformations such as refactoring operations. These artifacts need to be re-synchronized when one or more of them is altered so as all artifacts to remain consistent according to specific rules, constraints and properties.

Artifact re-synchronization for modern IDEs has to be a fast and responsive process. Ideally, the users should be able to reconcile all the dependent artifacts with the one it has been modified. This requires the re-synchronization process to be incremental; meaning that the number of changes that need to be made to bring other artifacts into a consistent state with the modified ones should be proportional to the relative size of the changed elements and not the total size of the artifacts. Incremental re-synchronization requires a) computing the set of affected elements in the interdependent artifacts, given the changed elements of the modified artifacts and, b) for each changed element, a proper change propagation strategy to be devised depending on the type of the change, the affected elements in the target artifacts and the consistency rules between the models. Most of the current tools that re-synchronize software artifacts rely on non-incremental model transformation techniques which can be time consuming for large projects where many models and artifacts are involved.

Until now, a neglected yet imperative case of model re-synchronization, deals with situations in which two or more artifacts are generated from one another by an existing model transformation. In this context, consistency rules between these models are embedded and hidden in the implementation logic of the model transformation rules themselves. More often than not, these model transformations do not support bi-directional mappings; hence unable to reflect the modifications made to the target artifacts back to the source artifacts. Systematic and automated support for re-synchronization of models under such conditions utilizing a unidirectional model transformer can potentially save a significant amount of effort. This would, otherwise, require to reverse-engine...