Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione     
Inverardi P., Mazzanti F., Montangero C. Configuration of distributed systems in ADA. Internal note IEI-B4-51, 1986.
The issues related to the design, activation and adaptation of large distributed software systems are addressed in the unifying frame of system configuration. This term refers to the activities that bring together smaller components into a system. Configuration is performed at different stages in the life of a software system, achieving various goals. We distinguish Compile Time Configuration, performed in the design phase, Run Time Configuration, in the activation phase and Run Time ReConfiguration performed when there is a need of adaptation. In the first case the goal is to make explicit the structure of the system in the program itself; in the second case it is to be able to taylor the system to specific environmental requirements and to allow its incremental activation; in the last case a foreseen modification of a component is allowed, without stopping the system. Facilities for configuration have ever since been available from the operating system and/or the programming environment: there is nowadays a trend to embed them in compiled languages, to extend to these facets of programming the advantages of static semantics analysis. Linguistic facilities for all the classes of system configuration are described: they have been implemented as a part of a larger project on distributed systems based on local networks, called Cnet; since Ada had been chosen as system language in Cnet, the new facilities have been integrated in Ada.

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