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T. Van den Berghe. A Methodological Framework for Active-Application Development. PhD thesis, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, October 1999.

Abstract

Active database systems extend traditional ones with mechanisms that enable to code, with ECA (event-condition-action) rules, a part of the application logic within the database. Active technology allows a simplification of application programs and facilitates the automation of complex application domains. In spite of these benefits, few current methods for software development consider rules for describing an application domain (business rules) or provide guidance for designing active databases. Our work contributes to applying active technology by adapting current approaches for engineering software to advances in database systems. Rules are advocated for expressing requirements that relate to active mechanisms. The processes of current methods are extended for dealing with active technology. We first propose an original process that promotes the use of rules for modelling and designing applications. Such a process reuses traditional engineering techniques, but special attention is placed on the integration of active components with traditional modelling components, especially in the early steps of the development lifecycle. Next, we demonstrate that rules constitute a suitable modelling technique for naturally expressing a large set of requirements, including constraints on data, triggered executions of actions, and application control. Rules faithfully supplement usual modelling components, which is illustrated by integrating the rule concept in the UML (Unified Modelling Language). A specific rule metamodel shows how we manage rules at different abstraction levels that correspond to the main steps of the development lifecycle. Finally, we propose a set of rule patterns to address frequent design problems with active components. Rule patterns help handle the active part of user needs by providing a generic formulation for eliciting requirements in a declarative fashion. They also provide a collection of ECA rules that result from the translation of declarative statements into procedural constructs. For illustrating our ideas, a concrete problem is solved with the help of a computerised tool that implements some of our rule patterns.


Updated: 2017-03-27