Back-annotation of data models at run-time

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Zuzel , a Master Student at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Greg Wilson (and the occasional collaboration of myself, Robert Clarisó and Mike Conley) is working on a method/tool to back-annotate data models at run-time .

The idea is to be able to visualize (possibly in real-time) what data elements (attributes, classes, associations) are being accessed/modified during the run-time execution of the application. This visualization should also have some kind of ordering information to see not only the navigation paths used by the application but also the order of that navigation.

As she explains, this project has two main objectives:

  • Help new developers of a project to understand the design of a database driven software. What better way to get the relationship between the dynamic and static parts of the software than watching it live?
  • Debug (and maybe track the performance of) a database driven software. (Automatic) Testing strategies are not yet good enough to deal with the database access parts of the application, so we cannot yet rely on them to detect all possible bugs resulting from changes on the database (e.g. changes on the length of an attribute)

Follow Zuzel’s blog FOR MORE information ON this topic. She/we would be glad TO GET SOME feedback ON this idea (thanks!).

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