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Structuring Reflective Middleware using Meta-InformationManagement: The Meta-ORB Approach and Prototypes

Fábio M. CostaBruno da Silva Santos

Reflection is now an established technique for achievingdynamic adaptability of middleware platforms. It providesa clean and comprehensive way to access the internalsof a platform implementation, allowing its customisationin order to achieve the best performance and adequacyunder given operation environments and user requirements.In addition, the use of a runtime componentmodel for the design of the internal platform structure facilitatesthe identification of the elements to be adapted, asall platform aspects are built in terms of components. Themajor limitation of this approach, however, is related to themultitude of aspects that make up a middleware platform,together with the requirement of keeping platform consistencyafter adaptations take place. This paper presents theresults of ongoing research contributing to reduce this limitation.The approach is based on the use of a commonmeta-model, together with meta-information techniques toprovide a uniform way to specify and manipulate platformconfigurations. Both platform configuration and runtimeadaptation are always specified using a small number ofbuilding blocks defined in the meta-model. The paper alsodescribes the overall architecture of the Meta-ORB platform,which demonstrates this approach, and presents itstwo implementations: a proof-of-concept prototype writtenin Python, and a Java-based implementation aimed atsupporting mobile devices. The results are also evaluatedfrom a quantitative perspective, according to the requirementsof multimedia applications, one of the major areasof application of reflective middleware.

http://www.lbd.dcc.ufmg.br/colecoes/jbcs/10/1/005.pdf

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