Thursday, October 18, 2007

Extracting and Evolving Mobile Games Product Lines

We had a discussion about a paper published in the SPLC 2005 with the title: “Extracting and Evolving Mobile Games Product Lines”. This is an interesting paper which describes a practical approach of software product lines involving Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP). The author describes a scenario with three different mobile games, and, using AOP, extracted aspects from the code. He based his idea in the fact that mobile applications usually have crosscutting concerns related to hardware restrictions and different features from one handset to another such as, screen size, pixel depth, API restrictions, etc. So, this scenario would be well managed by using AOP. The article also defines some rules for code refactoring to obtain the aspects and suggests a manner to maintain the traceability between features and aspects. Other works tried to implement the same idea of the one mentioned, but the challenging scenario of mobile applications makes it pioneer.

The biggest problem involving SPL and the mobile domain is possibly the chaos involved with the platform. We commonly see different manufacturers implementing the same platform in two different ways. Or there are processing restrictions that make the platform implementation to work differently from the specification. It seems that the mobile application domain is still in chaos because the market share rivalry and the run for lower prices are most important than establishing a standard platform for applications amongst manufacturers.

My opinion is: in a short period of time, handsets computing power will be enough to establish a SPL with the same sophistication of a SPL applied to desktop applications. And then, the major problems we face now with mobile domain will vanish and the problems will be related for any domain chosen.

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