By Mike VanHilstReuse is the topic of the day, every day, at SSR'97, the Symposium on Software Reusability which transpired at the Hilton Hotel, across the street from ICSE'97. The ACM SIGSOFT sponsored symposium is held in conjunction with ICSE in the odd years when ICSE takes place in North America. Eighty nine participants registered for the four day symposium that began on Saturday. One third of SSR's registrants also registered for ICSE.
The first day of SSR'97 was taken up by tutorials. According to Guillermo Arango, general chair of the symposium, all of the tutorials were popular, with Carma McClure's tutorials on Extending the Software Process to Include Reuse, Barry Keepence and Mike Mannon's tutorial on Requirements Driven Reuse, and Jeff Poulin's tutorial on Software Reuse Metrics getting especially well received. There about twenty participants in each of the eight half-day sessions.
On Sunday, in the keynote address, Paul Bassett described the use of "frames" for the adaptive reuse of software. Reported on some outstanding results achieved with the technique. For the remainder of the morning, attendees heard four papers on components and architecture presented by both practitioners and researchers. The afternoon session began with five talks on domain analysis and domain engineering.
Keeping with the international flavor of the symposium, the session included an asian speaker from the UK, a Polish speaker from Singapore, a French speaker from Florida, and a middle eastern speaker from Canada. The afternoon ended with a panel discussion on the impact of Java on software reusability---this year's hot topic.
Monday started with a keynote address by Ralph Johnson on Patterns, Frameworks, and Components. The keynote was followed by four papers on object-oriented reuse and reuse on the internet. The afternoon sessions gave the attendees five talks on application generators and program transformation and a panel discussion of reuse R & D.
All the talks in the SSR symposium were received with interest as evidenced by the fact that the reception area outside remained empty during every session. Dr. Arango attributes the success of this year's symposium to several factors, starting, of course with the high quality of the papers. Only twenty one were selected from the sixty three submissions received. But the format also contributed. The conference talks were given in a single track, to allow the participants to hear every talk. Each speaker was limited to twenty minutes, plus ten minutes of discussion, to encourage them to give only the highlights rather than trying to repeat the same material presented in the paper.
By the end of the symposium attendees were left with the impression that libraries of heterogeneous components and faceted component classification are on their way out. Judging by the papers, the trend is toward adaptable components and toward architectures and frameworks for component interchangeability. The impact of Java on reuse received mixed reviews. According to Martin Griss, "Java is just a programming language and it only solves a portion of the reuse problem."