Don Roberts' Home Page


Research Interests

I have spent the last several years working with Ralph Johnson. It is not coincidental that his interests are similar to mine. My research interests are in the area of object-oriented programming and design. In particular, I am interested in refactoring object-oriented systems, especially how it pertains to the evolution of frameworks, and the application of patterns. Most of my work has been done in Smalltalk.

Refactoring

Bill Opdyke's thesis discussed the notion of refactoring and presented several refactorings that he had examined in C++. A majority of my work has been working together with John Brant to develop the Refactoring Browser. This tool allows you to perform refactorings on production-level Smalltalk code quickly and safely. We are always looking for suggestions on ways to improve it. Another component of this package is Smalllint. Smalllint is a system to detect common bugs and style errors in Smalltalk programs.

Frameworks

Designing frameworks is difficult. In fact, I believe that they are so difficult, that they can only be designed by building examples and generalizing the example code into the framework code. Brian Foote is one of the pioneers of this belief. Ralph and I have presented a course on developing frameworks as various conferences. We have written a pattern language to describe this process.

Patterns

I was one of the original group members who reviewed the Gang of Four book as early as 1993. I am amazed at how quickly the idea has become popular. I was the conference chair of PLoP '97 (and survived). I continue to look for patterns of refactoring code.

Publications

Evolving Frameworks: A Pattern-Language for Developing Object-Oriented Frameworks. presented at PLoP '96. To be published in PLoPD3. Here's an HTML version.

A Refactoring Tool for Smalltalk. Published in Theory and Practice of Object Systems special issue on software reengineering.

Why every Smalltalker Should use the Refactoring Browser. Published in the Smalltalk Report.

The Design of a Refactoring Tool. Published in the Proceedings of ICAST '96.

Wrappers to the Rescue. Published in the Proceedings of ECOOP '98.

Practical Analysis for Refactoring. PhD thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 1999.postscript

I gave Ralph's framework tutorial at Smalltalk Solution '98.

Work

When I'm not doing research, I am a smalltalk consultant. My past jobs have included work with Hewitt and Associates, Abbot Pharmaceuticals, Sprint, and Lucent Technologies. I am available for mentoring, design, refactoring, and development.

Along with my paying jobs, I also develop and maintain a couple of freely available software packages. I am one of the coauthors, along with John Brant, of the Refactoring Browser. Justin Graver and his students developed T-Gen, the smalltalk parser generator. They are no longer supporting it, so I have adopted it, since it is such a great tool.


Personal

I am married to Denise. She will be a veterinarian in 1999, if all goes as planned. That's her picture on the left. She is the cover girl for the U of I College of Veterinary Medicine Admission Guide. We will be having our first child this summer.

Pets

Technically, we're not allowed to have pets in our apartment, but we have a couple of Chinese Water Dragons, Puff and Zoe, and a savannah monitor named, Mr. Peterson, and a uromastyx named Art (you call that Art?). They live in enclosures, so we classify them as furniture.

Games

If I have a hobby, it would have to be collecting and playing board games, and in particular, German board games. I also enjoy backpacking and many other outdoor activities.

Weather

I've always been interested in weather. I've even taken several meteorology courses, but it remains a hobby at best. Here are some of the better weather sites.


droberts@cs.uiuc.edu
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