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<h2>New Crosscutting Comparison functionality (<a href="">bug 90490</a>)</h2>
This page introduces the new Crosscutting Comparison view and related
functionality. This is available in AJDT development builds with versions of onwards, which can be obtained from the
<a href="">downloads page</a>
for either Eclipse 3.0 &mdash; 3.3. Crosscutting comparison is not available
for Eclipse 3.4 or later (AJDT 1.6 or greater).
The goal of this new functionality is to answer the "What's changed?"
question in relation to the aspect-oriented structure of your
application. Say you make a release of your project and then you
do some refactoring such as renaming some methods, adding new methods,
optimizing pointcuts etc. The advice in your project may now be
matching in different places (or in additional, or fewer places) but
in anything other than very small projects it would be hard to spot this
purely from the editor markers, Cross References view, and Visualiser
view offered by AJDT. These views show you the current state of the
crosscutting but not how it has changed.
An AspectJ project in Eclipse has a crosscutting structure associated
with it, which contains information such as the methods which are affected
by a particular piece of advice. This information is used in AJDT to
populate the Cross References view and to create the advice markers shown in
the editor. In order to be able to determine how this crosscutting structure
has changed some time later, we first need to save out the information into
a file. This can be done via the <b>Saving Crosscutting Map...</b> option
on the Project menu, as shown below.
<img src="screenshot1.png" width="492" height="297"
alt="Screenshot showing the save map menu entry">
You will then be prompted for a name for the file to store the
crosscutting structure in. These files are given the ".ajmap" extension.
<img src="screenshot2.png" width="415" height="177"
alt="Screenshot showing the enter name dialog">
After entering a name the map file will be created in the project.
You can then check these map files into CVS if required, so that a
project can have one or more crosscutting structures associated with
it. As shown below you can open the map file in an editor, but as
it is binary data you can't edit it (and you probably wouldn't want to
anyway). Future versions of the map file editor could at least show
information about the structure contained.
<img src="screenshot3.png" width="510" height="192"
alt="Screenshot using a AJMap file and editor">
If you create two map files you can compare them with each other
by selecting
them both in the package explorer and selecting the
<b>Compare Crosscutting With &gt; Each Other</b> menu option.
It is also possible to compare the crosscutting structure from one map file
with the current structure of the project, as shown below.
<img src="screenshot4.png" width="515" height="329"
alt="Screenshot showing how to initiate a comparison">
After selecting the required menu option, the new
<b>Crosscutting Comparison</b> view is opened and populated.
In the example shown below something has changed since the map
file was created which resulted in the <code>Line.setup</code>
method being advised by advice in the <code>HistoryManagement</code>
aspect. Either the <code>setup</code> method was added, or
the pointcut associated with the advice was changed such that it
now matches this method. As you can see both entries in the
view refer to the same relationship, but from opposite directions.
Future versions of the view will offer a relationship filter, so you
could for example just see the "advises" relationships, and not the
"advised by" ones.
<img src="screenshot5.png" width="565" height="165"
alt="Screenshot showing the Crosscutting Comparison view">
You can double click cells with the mouse, or use the Enter
and arrows keys to navigate to an item listed in the Crosscutting
Comparison view. You can also click the column headers to sort
the table according to the contents of that column.
Note also that if you are comparing a map file with the current build,
the comparison is redone whenever a build occurs. This gives you an
ongoing view of what has changed since the map file was created, e.g.
rename a method, save the file, an incremental build happens, and
the Crosscutting Comparison view updates to show that some advice is
no longer affecting a method that it is was previously advising.
Finally the screenshot below shows another example where a number
of crosscutting relationships have been added, and some have been
removed. Please let us know what you think of this new functionality
and if you have any suggestions for improving it (either via the bug,
the AJDT newsgroup, or the ajdt-dev mailing list).
<img src="screenshot6.png" width="566" height="222"
alt="Screenshot showing the Crosscutting Comparison view">