On the chemistry of typestate-oriented actors
Typestate-oriented programming is an extension of the OO paradigm where objects are modeled not just in terms of interfaces but in terms of their usage protocols, describing legal sequences of method calls, possibly depending on the object’s internal state. We argue that the Actor Model allows typestate-OOP in an inherently distributed setting, whereby objects/actors can be accessed concurrently by several processes, and local entities cooperate to carry out a communication protocol. In this presentation we illustrate the approach by means of a number of examples written in Scala Akka. We show that Scala’s abstractions support clean and natural typestate-oriented actor programming with the usual asynchronous and non-blocking semantics. We also show that the standard type system of Scala and a typed wrapping of usual (untyped) Akka’s ActorRef are enough to provide rich forms of type safety so that well-typed actors respect their intended communication protocols.
This approach draws on a solid theoretical background, consisting of a sound behavioral type system for the Join Calculus, that is a foundational calculus of distributed asynchronous processes whose semantics is based on the Chemical Abstract Machine, that unveiled its strong connections with typestate-oriented programming of both concurrent objects and Actors.
Silvia Crafa is Professor of Advanced Topics in Programming Languages at University of Padova, and she is member of the IFIP Working Group n.1.8: Concurrency Theory. Her research focuses on formal methods for the analysis of concurrent and distributed systems, ranging form the study of semantic foundations to logics and type systems.