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April 26, 2005

Heated discussions on the benefits and drawbacks of AOP

Following on from the Burton report, Forrester have also issued an analyst report entitled "AOP considered harmful". I don't know who Forrester spoke to in preparing this report, but I know a number of influential people in the AOP space that they didn't talk to (including any member of the AspectJ team). However, that's not the point of this post. In essence the report says that AOP is like an unstructured GOTO and therefore must be bad. The analyst quotes from a position paper by Maximilian Stoerzer et. al. Max posted on aosd-discuss to say that the analyst hadn't contacted him either, and that "the paper was written for a panel discussion, and intended to be provocative".

What the report has provoked though, is some very spirited debate on aosd-discuss about the pro's and con's of AOP, where it helps modularity, where it may harm modularity, the role that tools have to play, and the need for guidelines on AOP usage. If you can keep an open mind, it's well worth taking a look at the thread "AOP considered harmful" in the aosd-discuss archives.

In addition there was an active slashdot post on the topic (332 comments at time of writing). Like many Slashdot threads, there's a lot of noise, but also some interesting posts amongst them. I picked out this quote from "CrankyFool" as one of my favourites:

AOP can be used for great evil, but it can also be used for great good. When I first read up on it, my first reaction was "wow! This must be how God programs!" :)

Posted by adrian at April 26, 2005 08:26 AM [permalink]


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