Team RMoD

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Section: New Results

Traits

Participants : Stéphane Ducasse, Marcus Denker, Damien Pollet.

Traits are groups of methods that can be used to compose classes. They do not have a runtime existence and are conceptually folded into the classes that use them. Traits have been implemented in different languages.

Lexical Scoping and Traits. Traits are reusable building blocks that can be composed to share methods across unrelated class hierarchies. Original traits are stateless and cannot express visibility control for methods. Two extensions, stateful traits and freezable traits, have been proposed to overcome these limitations. However, these extensions introduce complexity and have not yet been combined to simultaneously add both state and visibility control to traits. In [29] we revisit the addition of state and visibility control to traits. Rather than extending the original traits model with additional operations, we allow traits to be lexically nested within other modules. Traits can then have (shared) state and visibility control by hiding variables or methods in their lexical scope. Although the Traits' “flattening property” has to be revisited, the combination of traits with lexical nesting results in a simple and expressive trait model. We discuss an implementation of the model in AmbientTalk and specify its operational semantics.

Reusing and Composing Tests with Traits. Single inheritance often forces developers to duplicate code and logic. This widely recognized situation affects both business code and tests. In a large and complex application whose classes implement many groups of methods (protocols), duplication may also follow the application's idiosyncrasies, making it difficult to specify, maintain, and reuse tests. The research questions we faced are (i) how can we reuse test specifications across and within complex inheritance hierarchies, especially in presence of orthogonal protocols; (ii) how can we test interface behavior in a modular way; (iii) how far can we reuse and parametrize composable tests. In this paper, we compose tests out of separately specified behavioral units of reuse —traits. We propose test traits, where: (i) specific test cases are composed from independent specifications; (ii) executable behavior specifications may be reused orthogonally to the class hierarchy under test; (iii) test fixtures are external to the test specifications, thus are easier to specialize. Traits have been successfully applied to test two large and critical class libraries in Pharo, a new Smalltalk dialect based on Squeak, but are applicable to other languages with traits [18] .


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