Modularity and Conventions for Maintainable Concurrent Language Implementations: A Review of Our Experiences and Practices

, , , and . Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Modularity In Systems Software (MISS'2012), page 21--26. ACM, (March 2012)


In this paper, we review what we have learned from implementing languages for parallel and concurrent programming, and investigate the role of modularity. To identify the approaches used to facilitate correctness and maintainability, we ask the following questions: What guides modularization? Are informal approaches used to facilitate correctness? Are concurrency concerns modularized? And, where is language support lacking most? Our subjects are AmbientTalk, SLIP, and the RoarVM. All three evolved over the years, enabling us to look back at specific experiments to understand the impact of concurrency on modularity. We conclude from our review that concurrency concerns are one of the strongest drivers for the definition of module boundaries. It helps when languages offer sophisticated modularization constructs. However, with respect to concurrency, other language features like single-assignment are of greater importance. Furthermore, tooling that enables remodularization taking concurrency invariants into account would be of great value.

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