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<td align=LEFT valign=TOP colspan="2" bgcolor="#0080C0"><b><font face="Arial,Helvetica"><font color="#FFFFFF">&nbsp;Eclipse
Corner Article</font></font></b></td>
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<h1><img src="images/Idea.jpg" height=86 width=120 align=CENTER></h1>
<h1 ALIGN="CENTER">Introducing AJDT: The AspectJ Development Tools</h1>
The AspectJ Development Tools (<a href="">AJDT</a>)
project is an Eclipse Tools project which enables the development
of <a href="">AspectJ</a> applications in Eclipse.
This article gives an overview of
the capabilities of AJDT 1.4 for Eclipse 3.2 by describing several
scenarios, including adding aspects to existing Java&trade; projects, working
with aspects across multiple projects, and using the load-time weaving
capabilities of AspectJ 5.
<p><b> Matt Chapman, AJDT Project Lead, IBM</b> <br>
<font size="-1">October 16, 2006</font> </p>
<hr width="100%">
<h2>AJDT from scratch</h2>
<p>For a Java developer just starting out with AspectJ, writing some
simple AspectJ programs is a good place to begin. You might do this by
using the examples in the AspectJ programmers guide, which are included with
AJDT (<b>File &gt; New &gt;Other &gt;AspectJ &gt; AspectJ Examples</b>),
or by reading some of the many excellent AspectJ books or articles available.</p>
<p>The process of creating a new AspectJ project in
Eclipse is remarkably similar to that of creating a Java project:
Simply select <b>File &gt; New &gt; Project &gt; AspectJ Project,</b>
or use the <b>New AspectJ Project</b> shortcut on the toolbar. The rest
of the wizard is pretty much identical to the New Java Project wizard.</p>
<p>In fact, an AspectJ project retains its Java nature (and has an AspectJ nature
added) so that any tools and plug-ins that operate on Java projects will
also operate on AspectJ
projects. The key difference is the builder used to compile
the project: The AspectJ compiler is used instead of the JDT Java
compiler. The AspectJ compiler itself is an extension of the JDT compiler,
and is therefore fully capable of compiling Java code.</p>
<p>Due to the similarity of AspectJ projects and Java projects, most
actions associated with Java projects apply equally to AspectJ
projects. This includes creating source folders, packages, and
classes, configuring the project's classpath, and editing Java source
files with the Java editor. This article will therefore only cover the
<h2>The New Aspect wizard</h2>
<p>An aspect is AspectJ's unit of modularity and has much in common
with a class in the Java language. Select <b>File &gt; New &gt; Other
&gt; AspectJ &gt; Aspect</b> or use the <b>New Type</b> drop-down on
the toolbar to open the New Aspect wizard, which is fairly similar to
the New Class wizard with just a few different options, as shown
<p align="center">
<img src="images/new_aspect.png" alt="The New Aspect wizard"><br>
Figure 1. The New Aspect wizard</p>
<h2>The AspectJ editor</h2>
<p>After creating a new aspect, it will be opened in the editor (the
AspectJ editor this time). The file created has the .aj file
extension, which is the designated extension for aspects in AspectJ
(classes can be left in .java files). Try entering some AspectJ code
in the new aspect. You should find the editor facilities fairly
similar to those for Java code, including:</p>
<li>The outline view populates as you type</li>
<li>Syntax errors are underlined in red</li>
<li>Organize imports works the same across aspects and classes</li>
<li>The editor supports folding (collapsing comment blocks for example)</li>
<li>You can reformat the file</li>
<li>Content-assist via control-space is helpful in many cases</li>
<p>All very familiar, isn't it? A couple of things that are missing --
including quick fixes in aspects and content-assist of certain things
such as pointcut names -- will be addressed by future versions of
<p>Saving your aspect will result in compilation of your project
(unless you have build automatically disabled, in which case you need
to press the <b>Build</b> button, just as with a Java project). If your
aspect contains advice that affects code in your project, you should
see some entries appear in the <i>Cross References</i> view and some markers
down the left side of the editor. These are two of the ways AJDT shows
you the crosscutting nature of your AspectJ projects.</p>
<h2>Crosscutting views</h2>
<p>The Cross References view and the standard Outline view can be considered
partners. Whereas the Outline view shows the structure of the current
document, the Cross References view shows the crosscutting
relationships for the current element. A useful layout is to position
the Cross References view below the Outline view, as shown in Figure 2
below. If this view is not visible, you can open it by selecting
<b>Window &gt; Show View &gt; Other &gt; AspectJ &gt; Cross References,</b>
or you can right-click on an
element in the Outline view and select <b>Open Cross References</b> from the
context menu.</p>
<p>Clicking within a method in the editor causes the Cross References
view to show any crosscutting information for that method. From the
left-hand side of Figure 2, you can see that the selected method is
being advised by some <i>around</i> advice in the GetInfo aspect. You can
click on that advice to navigate to it. The advice itself is then
shown in the Cross References view, as shown in the right-hand side of
Figure 2. This allows you to see the relationship from the other
<p align="center">
<img src="images/outline_and_xref.png" alt="The Outline and Cross
References views for a class and aspect"><br> Figure 2. The Outline
and Cross References views for a class and aspect</p>
<p>You also have the option (via a toolbar button) to not link the
Cross References view with
the editor. If you select this option, the Cross References view will
not respond to selections in the editor and Outline view, which can be
useful if you want to keep a particular list of crosscutting
information visible. Another option is to show the crosscutting
information for the whole of the current file, instead of just the
current element.
<p>Some developers choose not to have the Outline view
permanently visible, where it would take up valuable screen
space. Instead, they use the Quick Outline (from the Navigate menu, or
more typically by pressing <b>Ctrl+O</b>), which is an in-place version of
the view that appears over the editor. The same functionality is
available for the Cross References view. Pressing <b>Alt+Shift+P</b> (or you
can configure the key binding yourself via the preferences)
displays the Quick Cross References view, as shown in Figure 3. With
the Quick Outline view, pressing the key binding a second time causes
the view to also show inherited members. The Quick Cross References
view uses a similar mechanism to switch between showing crosscutting
information for the current element and for the entire file.
<p align="center">
<img src="images/xref_inplace.png" alt="The Quick Cross References view">
<br> Figure 3. The Quick Cross References view</p>
<h2>Markers and image decorators</h2>
<p>If you look at the editor for some source code that is being advised,
you will see marker icons down the left-hand side of the editor. These
indicate the presence and type of advice, using the same icons as in
the Outline and Cross References views. There are different icons to
indicate <i>before</i>, <i>after</i>, and <i>around</i> advice. Each
of these icons has two
variants: with and without a small question mark. The question mark
indicates that there is a runtime test to determine whether the advice
applies at that location, such as when the <i>cflow designator</i> is used in
pointcuts. The variant without a question mark is used where the match
can be completely determined at compile time.</p>
<p>If you right-click on the markers you will see an Advised By entry on
the context menu and a submenu showing the source of the advice. If
you select an entry there, the editor will open to show that
advice. From the advice you will see additional markers that show the
crosscutting relationship from the other direction, with an Advises
submenu, as shown in Figure 4. These symmetrical markers allow
consistent navigation between the source and targets of
advice. Similar markers and submenus are used to indicate other
crosscutting information, such as <i>inter-type declarations.</i></p>
<p align="center">
<img src="images/markers.png" alt="Advice markers and context menus">
<br> Figure 4. Advice markers and context menus</p>
<p> <img src="images/tip.gif" width="62" height="13"> New in AJDT 1.4
is the ability to customize the marker icons used for advice. You
can do this via the <b>AspectJ Tools &gt; Configure Advice Markers...</b>
context menu. You can select different icons for different aspects,
choosing from a set of provided icons or defining your own.</p>
<p>An image decorator is also used to show crosscutting information. If
you look back to the Outline view for a class in Figure 2, you should see a
small orange arrow to the left of three of the methods in the
view. The arrow is an Eclipse image decorator for Java elements. It is
used to indicate either that the given element is being affected by
advice directly, or that it contains a <i>join point</i> that is being
advised. This helpful visual cue appears just about everywhere that
Java elements appear, including the Outline view, the Cross References
view, and the Members view in the Java Browsing perspective.</p>
<h2>Converting a Java project</h2>
<p>After gaining some experience with AspectJ and AJDT in a simple test
project, a typical next step for a developer would be to take an
existing Java project and try extending it with an aspect or two. For
example, you might want to add enforcement aspects, such as one to
check for unwanted calls to System.out.println or
Exception.printStackTrace, or production aspects, such as an aspect to
implement persistence, or an aspect-oriented implementation of a
design pattern.</p>
<p>Converting a Java project to an AspectJ project is
straightforward. Simply right-click on the project and select
<b>AspectJ Tools &gt; Convert to AspectJ Project.</b>
This adds the AspectJ nature to
the project and switches it to use the AspectJ compiler, just as if
you had created an AspectJ project from scratch. It is worth noting
that this process can be applied to any project with a Java nature,
including higher level ones such as Eclipse plug-in projects. The
process is also reversible, with a context menu entry to remove the
AspectJ nature and switch back to the Java compiler.</p>
<p>Once you have an AspectJ project instead of a Java project, you might
wonder what differentiates them. Initially at least the answer is
"very little." You'll continue to edit your Java classes with the Java
editor using the standard document outline view and all the features
you've come to rely on, including quick fixes, content assist, and
early error indication via red squiggly lines. Likewise, saving
changes to a class will result in a fast incremental compile of the
project and you'll be able to set all the same compiler options from
the project properties pages. Every legal Java program is a legal
AspectJ program, so your code will compile just as it always has.</p>
<p>In fact, the AspectJ compiler is an extension of the Eclipse Java
compiler and AJDT extends the JDT tooling as consistently and
transparently as possible. This is what we mean when we talk about
seamless integration. The goal of seamless integration is to make the
first step of switching to an AspectJ project as easy as possible;
thus paving the way for gaining real value from coding with
<h2>Managing multiple projects</h2>
<p>Building AspectJ source code requires two distinct phases; compiling
the source in .java and .aj files to generate .class files, and then
applying the aspects to the generated .class files. This second phase,
known as <i>weaving,</i> is the key difference between AspectJ and Java
compilers. The Java compilation process is controlled by the classpath
setting, which makes types available for resolution by the
compiler. The same classpath setting is used by the AspectJ
compilation process and it is configured in exactly the same way in
Eclipse. However, this setting is not sufficient to control both the
compilation and weaving steps in all situations. This is why there are
two extra settings available for AspectJ projects.</p>
<p>First, there is the <i>inpath</i> setting. Anything specified here will be
made available to the weaver and so any aspects that apply will be
woven in. Entries can be added to a project's inpath by right-clicking
on the project, selecting <b>Properties,</b> then going to the <b>AspectJ InPath</b>
section. Entries can be either JAR files or directories (class
folders), such as the bin directory of another project. Anything on
the inpath is sent to the project's output, after potentially being
woven with aspects.</p>
<p>The second additional setting is the <i>aspectpath.</i> Whereas the inpath
controls the list of things that get woven, the aspectpath controls
what is woven into that list. In other words, any aspects specified on
the aspectpath are made available to the weaving process, just as if
they were present in source form in the project. This setting is
controlled from the <b>AspectJ Aspect Path</b> property page and can contain
either JAR files or directories.</p>
<p>An <i>output JAR</i> setting is also present in the AspectJ section of each
project's property page. This setting causes the compiler to output
class files directly to a JAR file, instead of to the project's output
<h2>Using aspects from other projects</h2>
<p>To see the above settings in action, consider an example
workspace. There are two projects, one called MyAspects and another
called WeaveMe. Both are AspectJ projects, although the second one may
or may not contain any aspects of its own. The MyAspects project
contains some aspects that are required in the WeaveMe project. To
connect the two projects, simply right-click on the WeaveMe project,
select <b>Properties</b> and go to the <b>AspectJ Aspect Path</b> section. Then,
from the <b>Libraries tab</b>, press <b>Add Class Folder</b> and select the bin
directory (or whatever the name of the output directory) of the
MyAspects project.</p>
<p>Press <b>OK</b> to build the project with this new setting and, assuming
pointcuts in the aspects match locations in the WeaveMe source code,
apply the associated advice. The editor markers and Cross References
view should still show the "advised by" relationships, but now the
originating end of the relationship will be described as a binary
aspect and you won't be able to navigate to it. Also, there will be
no "advises" relationship from the aspect in the other project.
<p> <img src="images/tip.gif" width="62" height="13"> This restriction
will be lifted in AJDT 1.4.1. If the binary aspect is located in the
workspace, then corresponding source code will be searched for and if
found full navigation and markers will be shown, just as when weaving
within a single project. This new support is available to try now in
development builds leading up to the 1.4.1 release.</p>
<p>It is important to note that types supplied via the aspectpath also
need to be available at runtime. Fortunately AJDT makes this easy for
you -- instead of selecting Run &gt; Java Application, you can use the
new launch configuration <b>Run &gt; AspectJ/Java Application.</b> This is the
same as the Java launch configuration except that it automatically
adds aspectpath entries to the runtime classpath. A second, unrelated
difference is that AspectJ/Java launch configurations can also locate
any main methods contained within aspects.</p>
<h2>Weaving Java projects</h2>
<p>What if you had a project containing Java code, in either source form
or in a JAR file, to which you wanted to apply aspects? If you needed
to keep the aspects separate from the project you could leave it as a
Java project and create an AspectJ project to do the weaving in. In
this case, you would simply add an <b>AspectJ InPath</b> setting in the
AspectJ project to refer to the Java code, using either the <b>Add JARs</b>
button or the <b>Add Class Folder</b> button.</p>
<p>When doing binary weaving like this you no longer have any source code
markers to show where advice is having an effect. A compiler option is
helpful here: From the <b>Other</b> tab of the <b>AspectJ Compiler</b> settings for
the AspectJ project (or from the global preferences), select the
<b>Output weaving info messages to problems view</b> option. Now, whenever
the project is built the Problems view will show information entries
to indicate which types have been woven.</p>
<h2>Load-Time Weaving</h2>
<p>So far we have seen <i>compile-time weaving</i>, which is where the AspectJ
weaving process takes place as the source code is compiled. When using aspects
from other projects using the aspect path setting we were using <i>binary
weaving</i>, which is when existing class files or JAR files are woven.
A third possibility is <i>load-time weaving</i>, which is binary weaving that
is deferred until a class is actually loaded by a class loader.</p>
<p>Consider an example workspace with an AspectJ project containing aspects
called MyAspects, and a second project called WeaveMe, which can be either
a regular Java project or an AspectJ project. With no aspect path or in-path
setting, no weaving will take place at development time. Instead we will
use the load-time weaving capabilities of AspectJ 5 to perform the weaving
as the application is launched.</p>
<p>Load-time weaving is configured by AJDT using a launch configuration.
Select <b>Run &gt; Run...</b> from the toolbar or menu, then select
<b>AspectJ Load-Time Weaving Application</b> from the list of
configuration, and then press the <b>New</b> button. There are a number
of settings to be made from this launch configuration. Firstly fill in
the <b>Main</b> tab with the project and class containing the main method
in your application, just as with regular Java application launch
configurations. Next switch to the <b>LTW Aspectpath</b> tab and select
<b>User Entries</b>. The <b>Add Projects...</b> button can then be used
to select the MyAspects project. Pressing <b>Run</b> causes the application
to be launched as it would be normally, with the additional step of weaving
any aspects from the load-time weaving aspectpath into classes as they are
<p align="center">
<img src="images/run-ltw.png" alt="Launch configuration for load-time weaving">
<br> Figure 5. Launch configuration for Load-Time Weaving</p>
<p>Load-time weaving in AspectJ 5 can be controlled further via an XML file.
This is generated by AJDT, and can be found as <code>META-INF/aop.xml</code>
in the source folder of the project containing the aspects. A useful option
to put in here is a <img src="images/tag_1.gif" height=13 width=24 align=CENTER> weaver
flag to cause messages to be output to the console
to show which classes are woven with which aspects as they are loaded:
&lt;?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?&gt;
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&lt;aspect name="bar.MyBar"/&gt;
<img src="images/tag_1.gif" height=13 width=24 align=CENTER>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&lt;weaver options="-showWeaveInfo"/&gt;
<h2>Developing Aspect libraries</h2>
<p>The concept of reusable aspect libraries is a very powerful one. Let's
say you have developed an aspect that you think might be applicable to
other projects. You could then generalize the aspect and separate it
out into its own project to form a library. Typically an aspect in a
library would define the appropriate behaviour, which could then be
tailored to a specific purpose as required. This would most likely
involve an abstract aspect with an abstract pointcut. The project
using the aspect would then extend it with a pointcut defining the
appropriate scope for the aspect to apply to.</p>
<p>If the project using the aspect library contained a concrete version
of any required abstract aspects, you could link the two projects
simply by adding the library project to the <b>Projects</b> tab from the
<b>Java Build Path</b> properties page. As the concrete aspect is local to the
project, regular classpath lookup would be sufficient to resolve the
<p>Notice also that the editor markers and Cross References view show the
source of the advice as the abstract super-aspect. This is correct
because that's where the advice is; however in this situation the
pointcut in the concrete aspect is controlling the application of
advice, and it is that which is often of interest. Given the potential of
reusable aspect libraries, you can expect the general support in this
area to increase in later releases of AJDT.</p>
<h2>Working with plug-in projects</h2>
<p>You can also use AspectJ when developing Eclipse plug-ins, including
Rich Client Platform applications. Simply take a plug-in project
and right-click to convert it to an AspectJ project in the same way
you would a regular Java project. You will then be prompted to add a
dependency on the org.aspectj.runtime plug-in. AspectJ programs have a
runtime dependency on the aspectjrt.jar file and for plug-in projects
this dependency is satisfied by the small org.aspectj.runtime
plug-in. After adding this dependency to your project, you can go
ahead and start using aspects in the further development of your
<p>The Eclipse Plug-in Development Environment (PDE) makes it possible to
generate an Ant build file (build.xml) for your plug-in project. AJDT
provides a similar option for AspectJ-enabled plug-in
projects. Right-click on a plugin.xml file (or MANIFEST.MF) and select
<b>PDE Tools &gt; Create Ant Build File with AspectJ Support.</b>
The generated build.xml file will be similar to the one generated for a
Java plug-in project, except that instead of using the javac Ant task to
compile the source code, you'll use the <i>iajc</i> task provided by
AspectJ instead.</p>
<p>When it comes to deployment, there are also several Export wizards
available, so you can export <b>Deployable plug-ins and fragments with AspectJ
support</b> and export an <b>Eclipse product with AspectJ support.</b>
These wizards operate the same as the regular versions, except they
use the AspectJ compiler and correctly treat .aj files as source code files.</p>
<h2>Project-level visualization</h2>
<p>As you saw earlier, markers in the AspectJ editor and Cross References
view clearly show you the nature of crosscutting on a per-file
basis. What you don't get from these features alone is a good overview
of how widespread the concern is -- whether it cuts across the entire
project or just a couple of packages, for example. For this type of
perspective, you'll use the Visualiser.</p>
<p>The easiest way to bring up the Visualiser is to switch to the Aspect
Visualization perspective, which presents a visual representation of
the selected project consisting of a column for each source file, with
a height proportional to the number of lines in the source
file. Stripes are then painted on the columns at the appropriate
positions to represent the source locations where advice is having an
effect (or potentially having an effect, in the case of an additional
runtime test). The colour of each stripe corresponds to the aspect
containing that advice. You can see this in the screenshot in Figure
<p align="center">
<img src="images/visualiser.png" alt="The Visualiser">
<br> Figure 6. The Visualiser</p>
<p>As you can see, there is the main Visualiser view and a second
Visualiser Menu view, which lists the aspects being displayed. You can
change the colours used to represent different aspects from this list,
or you can de-select aspects to remove them from the
visualization. For example, you may want to remove a pervasive logging
aspect that is obscuring other aspects. You can use controls on the
toolbar of the Visualiser view to zoom the view in and out, to fit the
contents to the view (subject to certain minimum sizes), to only show
columns that are affected by advice (non-affected columns are
otherwise shown in grey), and to switch the grouping level from class
view to package view (where all the classes in a package are grouped
into a single column). Finally, you can use a drop-down menu to access
other options such as the preference page, where you can further
customize the rendering.</p>
<p>In addition to showing the effects of advice,
the visualization includes the locations matched by AspectJ
"declare error" and "declare warning" statements. These can be
toggled on or off from the Visualiser Menu toolbar.</p>
<p>The Visualiser is designed to cope with large projects, although quite
a lot of processing is required to determine the size of every class
and to render the visualization. As available graphics memory is
usually far more limited than general memory, the rendering process
has been optimized to keep the use of graphics memory to a
minimum. The columns are rendered as they are required, so scrolling
the view for the first time is not usually as smooth as it is
on subsequent occasions. General memory is used to cache the image data, unless it is in
short supply, in which case the image data is regenerated each
time. This means that larger projects can still be shown, but with
limited memory the scrolling is not as responsive.</p>
<p>The Visualiser supports a selection mechanism, which can be operated
via the mouse or the keyboard, to select columns, classes, or
stripes. Activating a selection (by double-clicking with the mouse, or
pressing the spacebar) causes the corresponding item to be opened in
the editor. It is also worth noting that the Visualiser is actually a
completely general-purpose component that can be tailored to visualize
anything, from Eclipse markers to Google search results. As well as
providing custom data to the Visualiser, you can also customize the
drawing style of the columns and the colours used for the stripes.</p>
<h2>Managing change</h2>
<p>During the lifetime of a project classes
and methods are likely to be added, removed, and renamed, as the code
is refactored, bugs are fixed, and new features are
implemented. Managing this change with large projects can be
challenging, particularly when there is a great deal of crosscutting
functionality. Capturing this functionality with aspects improves the
situation by collecting the relevant code together, instead of it
being scattered across the codebase. Pointcuts are then used to define
the join points at which advice in the aspect applies. In the face of
the above changes over time, however, even this set of matching
locations can change unexpectedly.</p>
<p>The first approach to managing this issue is to develop robust pointcuts
from the start. A well-built pointcut is less likely to stop matching
the required locations after changes are made to the code. For
example, if you're interested in calls to an update method that takes
an integer as its first parameter, you might use a pointcut such as
<code>call(* update(int))</code>. This matches calls to update methods
with a single-integer parameter. But if someone later adds an extra
parameter to the method, the pointcut will no longer match. If you're only
interested in the first integer parameter a better pointcut would be
<code>call(* update(int,..))</code>, because this would still match even
if extra parameters were added or removed.</p>
<p>Even with these precautions, some types of changes can cause problems
for the most robust of pointcuts; for example, in the above case the
method's parameters could be changed such that the integer of interest
was no longer the first parameter. Another type of change might cause
a pointcut to start matching in more places than was required. For
example, if you were interested in setter methods, you might apply a
<code>set*</code> pattern in your pointcut, but the later addition of a
non-setter method called setup to the code would result in an undesirable
extra match by the pointcut.</p>
<p>The <i>Crosscutting Comparison</i> functionality in AJDT was developed
precisely to assist you in handling these types of changes to your
code. Crosscutting Comparisons allows you to take a snapshot of the
crosscutting relationships in your project and then compare the
snapshot with relationships present in a later version of the
project. To create a snapshot, right-click on a project and select
<b>AspectJ Tools &gt; Save Crosscutting Map As...</b> You will then be
prompted for a filename to save the relationship map into. These files
have the <code>.ajmap</code> extension, and are stored directly in
your project. For
example, when you release a particular version of your project, you
might save the crosscutting relationships for that release, in order
to use them as a point of reference when developing the next
<p>Once you have one or more crosscutting map files in your project, you
can perform a comparison. Two such files can be compared with
each other, or you can compare the relationships in one file against
the relationships present in the current build. These two comparison
options are available by selecting one or two map files in the package
explorer, then right-clicking and selecting the appropriate option
from the context menu. The results of the comparison are then
displayed in a new view, as shown in Figure 7:</p>
<p align="center">
<img src="images/comparison.png" alt="Crosscutting Comparison view">
<br> Figure 7. Crosscutting Comparison view</p>
<p>The view shows crosscutting relationships that have been added since
the first map file was recorded, as well as ones that have been
removed; that is, are not present in the second map file (or in the
current build). You can double-click the source and target elements to
open them in the editor (except for ones that no longer exist, of
course). There is a filter button on the toolbar to restrict the set
of relationships that are shown. The default is to only show
relationships in one direction, such as "advises", instead of also
"advised by". Note that if you have
selected to compare a map file with the current build, the comparison
will be re-run whenever a build occurs. This gives you an ongoing view
of what has changed since the map file was created, which can be very
useful when refactoring code in a project.</p>
<p>In addition to project-level comparisons, it is also possible
to compare two elements within the same project. These elements can
be either advice statements or declare error/warning statements. For example,
to see whether two advice statements affect the same locations, select them
both in the outline view (or package explorer) and select <b>Compare
Crosscutting With &gt; Each Other</b> from the context-menu. You can also
compare two declare error/warning statements, or compare one declare
statement with an advice statement. The <b>Propagate Up</b> button on the
view's toolbar raises the granularity of the comparison to the level of
enclosing methods. This means that advice matching the execution of
a method can be considered the same as a statement within the same
method which is matched by a declare warning statement.
This can be particularly useful when refactoring code to use aspects,
as a declare warning statement might be used to identify behaviour that
is going to be handled by advice. The comparison functionality can
then be used to check that all of the locations matched by the declare
statement are covered by the matching locations for the advice.
<h2>AJDT development notes</h2>
<p>AJDT is developed with AJDT. This offers a great chance to demonstrate
some possible uses of aspects and also means that new versions of AJDT
get a lot of manual testing (in addition to many automated tests).
AJDT is implemented by a number of AspectJ-enabled plug-ins, with a total
of around 200,000 lines of code. Aspects are used to implement a number
of crosscutting concerns:</p>
<li>catch exceptions and write appropriate entries to the Eclipse error log,</li>
<li>enforce coding standards and conventions,</li>
<li>take various performance and resource usage measurements in the Visualiser,</li>
<li>keep track of changes across multiple properties pages</li>
<li>wrap calls using Eclipse's ISafeRunnable interface (for example
when calling untrusted code contributed by a plug-in extension)</li>
<h2>Future directions</h2>
<p>In addition to providing an Eclipse interface to the incremental AspectJ
compiler, AJDT provides a sophisticated editor for AspectJ source code,
multiple approaches for visualising and navigating crosscutting structure,
and close integration with other parts of Eclipse to facilitate the development
of AspectJ-enabled plugins, products and RCP applications. However there are
many new enhancements to implement and limitations to address, including
better display and navigation of crosscutting information when binary
weaving and also when load-time weaving. The powerful refactoring capabilities
in Eclipse offer many challenges, including both participation in existing
Java-based refactoring, as well as implementing new aspect-oriented refactorings.
You can browse the open AJDT enhancements in Bugzilla to see what else needs doing.
<p>AJDT continues to be driven by user demand, so please indicate in Bugzilla
which enhancements and bug fixes you need most urgently, either out of the
existing requests, or by entering new requests.
If you'd like to get involved please go to the
<a href="">AJDT site</a>
and look for the links to Bugzilla, the newsgroup, the
developers mailing list, and the page of to-do tasks.</p>
<p>This article is an updated version of an original written for developerWorks:
<a href=""><i>New AJDT releases ease AOP development.</i></a>
This was published as part of the <a href="">AOP@Work</a> series.
<p>Many thanks to the reviewers of the original and this updated article.</p>
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