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Mayer, Philip (2017): A taxonomy of cross-language linking mechanisms in open source frameworks. In: Computing, Vol. 99, No. 7: pp. 701-724
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Non-trivial software systems are written using multiple programming languages. While the logic of a system is encoded using one or several general-purpose languages, more specialized parts of the systems are realized using domain-specific languages for aspects such as the user interface, configuration mechanisms, querying of databases, or support for internationalization. To bind all of these different parts together, the artifacts in individual languages are connected by using cross-language links which address artifacts across language boundaries. Many different ways for specifying and using such links have been conceived, and developers have to adhere to the concrete rules mandated by the runtime, framework or library which later performs the link resolution. In this paper, we present a taxonomy of the mechanisms of encoding cross-language linking in well-known open source frameworks from a developers perspective, which shows the choices that have been made and the options available in practice. We describe the process we followed, which is based in part on a survey of language combinations on GitHub and a survey of professional developers, list the dimensions and characteristics of our taxonomy in full, show the classifications of 22 frameworks and mechanisms, four of which are described in detail, and discuss the impact of the choices on application developers.