RAFDA

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Networked and Distributed Systems Group, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews

Contents

Overview

RAFDA (Reflective Application Framework for Distributed Architectures) was originally a 3 year project funded by EPSRC. The objectives of this project are to investigate flexible distributed object-oriented application architectures, the key components of which are:

  1. A novel middleware system that tackles the limitations of current middleware systems with respect to flexibility by allowing the exposure of arbitrary application components to remote access.
  2. A flexible policy framework that separates parameter passing and encoding policy from functional application requirements.

Summary

Middleware technologies often limit the way in which object classes may be used in distributed applications due to the fixed distribution policies that they impose. These policies permeate applications developed using existing middleware systems and force an unnatural encoding of application level semantics. For example, the application programmer has no direct control over inter-address-space parameter passing semantics. Semantics are fixed by the distribution topology of the application, which is dictated early in the design cycle. This creates applications that are brittle with respect to changes in distribution.

The RAFDA middleware provides control over the extent to which inter-address-space communication is exposed to programmers, in order to aid the creation, maintenance and evolution of distributed applications. The system permits arbitrary objects in an application to be dynamically exposed for remote access, allowing applications to be written without concern for distribution. Programmers can conceal or expose the distributed nature of applications as required, permitting object placement and distribution boundaries to be decided late in the design cycle and even dynamically. Inter-address-space parameter passing semantics may also be decided independently of object implementation and at varying times in the design cycle, again possibly as late as run-time. Furthermore, transmission policy may be defined on a per-class, per-method or per-parameter basis, maximizing plasticity. This flexibility is of utility in the development of new distributed applications, and the creation of management and monitoring infrastructures for existing applications.

Download

See RAFDA Software

Documentation

Papers and Reports

  • Towards Adaptable and Adaptive Policy-Free Middleware. Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, Norcross, S, Macdonald, AD, Bigwood, GJ. University of St Andrews Report CS/06/3. 2006. [details]
  • RAFDA: A Policy-Aware Middleware Supporting the Flexible Separation of Application Logic from Distribution. Walker, SM, Dearle, A, Norcross, SJ, Kirby, GNC, McCarthy, AJ. University of St Andrews Report CS/06/2. 2006. [details]
  • A Peer-to-Peer Middleware Framework for Resilient Persistent Programming. Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, Norcross, SJ, McCarthy, AJ. University of St Andrews Report CS/06/1. 2006. [details]
  • A Flexible, Policy-Aware Middleware System. Walker, SM. PhD Thesis. Supervisor: Dearle, A. 2005. [details]
  • A Methodology for Developing and Deploying Distributed Applications. Kirby, GNC, Walker, SM, Norcross, SJ, Dearle, A. In: Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3798, Dearle, A, Eisenbach, S (eds), Proc. 3rd International Working Conference on Component Deployment (CD2005), Grenoble, France, pp 37-51. Springer, ISBN 3-540-30517-3. 2005. [details]
  • A Peer-To-Peer Infrastructure for Resilient Web Services. Norcross, SJ, Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, Walker, SM. In: IEEE International Workshop on Advanced Architectures and Algorithms for Internet Delivery and Applications (AAA-IDEA 2005). 2005. [details]
  • Performing Automatic Application Transformation using the RAFDA Tools. Walker, SM. University of St Andrews Report CS/05/5. 2005. [details]
  • Promoting Class Reuse by Separating Transmission Policy from Implementation. Walker, SM, Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, Norcross, SJ. University of St Andrews Report CS/05/1. 2005. [details]
  • RAFDA Run-Time (RRT) Beginner’s Guide v1.0. Walker, SM. University of St Andrews Report CS/05/4. 2005. [details]
  • RAFDA: Middleware Supporting the Separation of Application Logic from Distribution Policy. Dearle, A, Walker, S, Norcross, S, Kirby, GNC, McCarthy, A. University of St Andrews Report CS/05/3. 2005. [details]
  • Exposing Application Components as Web Services. Walker, SM, Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, Norcross, SJ. University of St Andrews Report CS/04/3. 2004. [details]
  • A Flexible and Secure Deployment Framework for Distributed Applications. Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, McCarthy, A, Diaz y Carballo, JC. In: Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3083, Emmerich, W, Wolf, AL (eds), Proc. 2nd International Working Conference on Component Deployment (CD 2004), Edinburgh, Scotland, pp 219-233. Springer, ISBN 3-540-22059-3. 2004. [details]
  • A Framework for Constraint-Based Deployment and Autonomic Management of Distributed Applications. Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, McCarthy, A. University of St Andrews Report CS/04/1. 2004. [details]
  • A Framework for Constraint-Based Deployment and Autonomic Management of Distributed Applications (Extended Abstract). Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, McCarthy, A. In: Proc. International Conference on Autonomic Computing (ICAC-04), New York, USA, Kephart, JO, Parashar, M (eds), pp 300-301. IEEE Computer Society. 2004. [details]
  • A Middleware Framework for Constraint-Based Deployment and Autonomic Management of Distributed Applications. Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, McCarthy, A. Report 2004. [details]
  • A Reflective Approach to Providing Flexibility in Application Distribution. Rebón Portillo, ÁJ, Walker, S, Kirby, GNC, Dearle, A. In: Proc. 2nd International Workshop on Reflective and Adaptive Middleware, ACM/IFIP/USENIX International Middleware Conference (Middleware 2003), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ururahy, C, Sztajnberg, A, Cerqueira, R (eds), pp 95-99. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro. 2003. [details]

Project Members

Previous Members

Funding

Funding Body EPSRC
Grant Number GR/R51872/01
Holders Alan Dearle, Graham Kirby
Value £217,560
Duration October 2001 - September 2004

Local Information

Private RAFDA pages

Personal tools