AOP and metadata: A perfect match, Part 2 published
April 12, 2005

IBM developerWorks just published the second part of my two-part article series "AOP and metadata: A perfect match". While the first part focused on mechanics involved in using metadata with AOP, the second part focuses on the concept of multidimensional interfaces, best practices in using metadata with AOP, and effect of metadata on AOP adoption.

In the first half of this article, I introduced the basics of the new Java™ metadata facility and explained how and where AOP's join point model could be most beneficially fortified by metadata annotation. I also gave an overview of existing metadata support in three leading AOP systems: AspectWerkz, AspectJ, and JBoss AOP. I touched on the impact of metadata on an AOP system's modularity, and concluded with a refactoring example demonstrating the gradual introduction of metadata annotation into an AOP system.

In this second half of the article, I'll suggest a novel way to look at metadata as a pathway into multidimensional signature space. This approach has a practical application in untangling element signatures and is also conceptually useful for designing annotation types, even for developers who do not practice AOP. I will also focus on the most beneficial use of metadata annotation in aspect-oriented programming. Among other things, I will demonstrate an effective use of AOP to reduce the loss of modularity that is sometimes associated with metadata annotation. I'll conclude the article with a set of guidelines for determining when and how best to use metadata. I'll also consider the effects of adding a metadata facility on the adoption of AOP.