Persistent Contextual Values as Inter-Process Layers

Markus Raab

Mobile applications today often fail to be context aware when they also need to be customizable and efficient at run-time. Context-oriented programming allows programmers to develop applications that are more context aware. Its central construct, the so-called layer, however, is not customizable. We propose to use novel persistent contextual values for mobile development. Persistent contextual values automatically adapt their value to the context. Furthermore they provide access without overhead. Key-value configuration files contain the specification of contextual values and the persisted contextual values themselves. By modifying the configuration files, the contextual values can easily be customized for every context. From the specification, we generate code to simplify development. Our implementation, called Elektra, permits development in several languages including C++ and Java. In a benchmark we compare layer activations between threads and between applications. In a case study involving a web-server on a mobile embedded device the performance overhead is minimal, even with many context switches.

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