AspectML: A polymorphic aspect-oriented functional programming language

Daniel S. Dantas, David Walker, Geoffrey Washburn, Stephanie Weirich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This article defines AspectML, a typed functional, aspect-oriented programming language. The main contribution of AspectML is the seamless integration of polymorphism, run-time type analysis and aspect-oriented programming language features. In particular, AspectML allows programmers to define type-safe polymorphic advice using pointcuts constructed from a collection of polymorphic join points. AspectML also comes equipped with a type inference algorithm that conservatively extends Hindley - Milner type inference. To support first-class polymorphic point-cut designators, a crucial feature for developing aspect-oriented profiling or logging libraries, the algorithm blends the conventional Hindley - Milner type inference algorithm with a simple form of local type inference. We give our language operational meaning via a type-directed translation into an expressive type-safe intermediate language. Many complexities of the source language are eliminated in this translation, leading to a modular specification of its semantics. One of the novelties of the intermediate language is the definition of polymorphic labels for marking control-flow points. When a set of labels is assembled as a pointcut, the type of each label is an instance of the type of the pointcut.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software


  • Aspect-oriented programming
  • Functional languages
  • Parametric and ad-hoc polymorphism
  • Type inference
  • Type systems


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