Mercury: Properties and Design of a Remote Debugging Solution using Reflection

Nick Papoulias 1 Noury Bouraqadi 2 Luc Fabresse 2 Stéphane Ducasse 1 Marcus Denker 1
1 RMOD - Analyses and Languages Constructs for Object-Oriented Application Evolution
Inria Lille - Nord Europe, CRIStAL - Centre de Recherche en Informatique, Signal et Automatique de Lille (CRIStAL) - UMR 9189
Abstract : Remote debugging facilities are a technical necessity for devices that lack appropriate input/output interfaces (display, keyboard, mouse) for programming (e.g., smartphones, mobile robots) or are simply unreachable for local development (e.g., cloud-servers). Yet remote debugging solutions can prove awkward to use due to re-deployments. Empirical studies show us that on average 10.5 minutes per coding hour (over five 40-hour work weeks per year) are spent for redeploying applications (including re-deployments during debugging). Moreover current solutions lack facilities that would otherwise be available in a local setting because it is difficult to reproduce them remotely. Our work identifies three desirable properties that a remote debugging solution should exhibit, namely: run-time evolution, semantic instrumentation and adaptable distribution. Given these properties we propose and validate Mercury, a remote debugging model based on reflection. Mercury supports run-time evolution through a causally connected remote meta-level, semantic instrumentation through the reification of the underlying execution environment and adaptable distribution through a modular architecture of the debugging middleware.
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Nick Papoulias, Noury Bouraqadi, Luc Fabresse, Stéphane Ducasse, Marcus Denker. Mercury: Properties and Design of a Remote Debugging Solution using Reflection. The Journal of Object Technology, Chair of Software Engineering, 2015, 14 (2), pp.36. ⟨10.5381/jot.2015.14.2.a1⟩. ⟨hal-01185730⟩

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