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Aspect-Oriented Requirements Engineering
Phd Post-Graduation

Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD) aims at providing means to identify, modularise, specify and compose crosscutting concerns. Crosscutting concerns are responsible for producing scattered and tangled representations that are difficult to maintain and evolve. AOSD was introduced first at programming level, with Aspect-Oriented Programming, where crosscutting concerns, known as aspects, are handled in code. Aspect-oriented concepts have been propagated up the software development lifecycle, to software design, software architecture and requirements engineering. The primary aim of this PhD thesis was to address crosscutting concerns at the requirements level. The end result is the Aspect-Oriented Requirements Analysis (AORA) approach. AORA, with associated process model, techniques and tool, supports separation, specification, conflict resolution and composition of crosscutting and non-crosscutting concerns at the requirements level. The AORA process model is composed of three plans, each one divided in tasks. The first two plans contribute to identify crosscutting concerns in requirements documents and to minimize the tyranny of dominant decomposition. This is achieved by handling all concerns in the same fashion using a unique template. This template supports a complete and consistent set of descriptions and representations of concerns, be them crosscutting or non-crosscutting. The third and final plan contributes with the ability to compose crosscutting and non-crosscutting concerns to clearly understand the system requirements and to identify and analyse critical trade-offs between concerns. The AORA conflict management technique is applied during the composition activity. The Analytical Hierarchical Process and Weighted Average multi-criteria analysis methods are used to find, given a set of alternatives and a set of decision criteria, the best alternative for a given problem. It is important to understand well each concern, study the level of impact that each one may have on others and decide on their relative importance before any solution decision is made. A set of guidelines are proposed to support concern horizontal forward traceability. Tool’s functionalities are developed to support horizontal backward traceability as well as vertical traceability. Thanks to these guidelines and the tool, our approach promotes better understanding of concerns, and supports validation of specifications and compositions of concerns for the stakeholders through functionalities that guarantees consistency of the concerns’ specification and their composition rules. AORA has been assessed through independent case studies and users, as well as empirical comparisons with respect to other Aspect-Oriented Requirements Engineering approaches.

Start Date: 2004-01-01

End Date: 2008-07-18

Post-Graduation Student / Researcher / Professor:

Post-Graduation Supervisor(s):

Post-Graduation Jury:
  • João Araújo
  • Luis Monteiro
  • Pedro Guerreiro
  • Alberto Silva ( INESC Id )
  • Isidro Ramos Salavert ( Universidad Politécnica de Valencia )
  • Jaelson F. B. Castro ( Universidade Federal de Pernambuco )
  • Nuno Jardim Nunes ( Universidade da Madeira )
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