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Specification, Implementation, and Deployment of Components


Ivica Crnkovic, Brahim Hnich , Totte Jonsson , Zeynep Kiziltan

Publication Type:

Journal article


Communications of the ACM (CACM)


Association for Computing (ACM)


Component-based Software Engineering (CBSE) is a new, promising, and rapidly growing discipline in academia and industry. The basic concepts in this discipline originate from different areas of software engineering and computer science, such as object-oriented programming, reuse, software architecture, modeling languages, formal specifications, etc. Industry and open market have a significant impact on the development of the component technology. CBSE acquires and makes synthesis of knowledge and experience from these areas. A consequence of this is that CBSE uses concepts that are still not fully formalized, and terms that are not clearly distinguished, and the relations among which are not well explained. For example, the term "component" or "interface" is still widely discussed, and still not yet formally specified. <br> The main concerns of CBSE related to components are a component specification, its implementation, and its deployment. A component is specified by functions by which it communicates with its environment, and by other attributes, called extra-functional attributes, which are not expressed by functions, but which define the total behavior of the component. A widely used method for specifying the syntactic aspects of functional properties is the definition of interfaces. The semantic aspects of functional properties related to context-dependencies (i.e. specification of the deployment environment and run-time environment) and interaction can be expressed using contracts. Interfaces and contracts, however, are not so well equipped to express extra-functional properties. Manners and the analytical model are two examples of techniques that address the specification of extra-functional properties. Finally, component implementation and are closely related to patterns (that are used for components internal design) and frameworks (that provide common rules and support for components interoperability, such as deployment and communication). This paper clarifies the commonly used terms within the area of CBSE, and discusses relations between them.


author = {Ivica Crnkovic and Brahim Hnich and Totte Jonsson and Zeynep Kiziltan},
title = {Specification, Implementation, and Deployment of Components},
volume = {45},
number = {10},
month = {October},
year = {2002},
journal = {Communications of the ACM (CACM)},
publisher = { Association for Computing (ACM)},
url = {}