Bidirectional Object-Oriented Programming: Towards Programmatic and Direct Manipulation of Objects
Many bidirectional programming languages, which are mainly functional and relational, have been designed to support writing programs that run in both forward and backward directions. Nevertheless, there is little study on the bidirectionalization of object-oriented languages that are more popular in practice. This paper presents the first bidirectional object-oriented language that supports programmatic and direct manipulation of objects. Specifically, we carefully extend a core object-oriented language, which has a standard forward evaluation semantics, with backward updating semantics for class inheritance hierarchies and references. We formally prove that the bidirectional evaluation semantics satisfies the round-tripping properties if the output is altered consistently. To validate the utility of our approach, we have developed a tool called BiOOP for generating HTML documents through bidirectional GUI design. We evaluate the expressiveness and effectiveness of BiOOP for HTML webpage development by reproducing ten classic object-oriented applications from a Java Swing tutorial and one large project from GitHub. The experimental results show the response time of direct manipulation programming on object-oriented programs that produce HTML webpages is acceptable for developers.