Toward a Formal Theory of Extensible Software

Shriram Krishnamurthi, Matthias Felleisen

ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering, 1998

Abstract

As software projects continue to grow in scale and scope, it becomes important to reuse software. An important kind of reuse is extensibility, i.e., the extension of software without accessing existing code to edit or copy it. In this paper, we propose a rigorous, semantics-based definition of software extensibility. Then we illustrate the utility of our definitions by applying them to several programs. The examination shows how programming style affects extensibility and also drives the creation of a variant of an existing design pattern. We consider programs in both object-oriented and functional languages to prove the robustness of our definitions.

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