Research Output
A holistic semantic based approach to component specification and retrieval
  Component-Based Development (CBD) has been broadly used in software development as it enhances the productivity and reduces the costs and risks involved in systems development. It has become a well-understood and widely used technology for developing not only large enterprise applications, but also a whole spectrum of software applications, as it offers fast and flexible development. However, driven by the continuous expansions of software applications, the increase in component varieties and sizes and the evolution from local to global component repositories, the so-called component mismatch problem has become an even more severe hurdle for component specification and retrieval. This problem not only prevents CBD from reaching its full potential, but also hinders the acceptance of many existing component repository.
To overcome the above problem, existing approaches engaged a variety of technologies to support better component specification and retrieval. The existing approaches range from the early syntax-based (traditional) approaches to the recent semantic-based approaches. Although the different technologies are proposed to achieve accurate description of the component specification and/or user query in their specification and retrieval, the existing semantic-based approaches still fail to achieve the following goals which are desired for present component reuse: precise, automated, semantic-based and domain capable.
This thesis proposes an approach, namely MVICS-based approach, aimed at achieving holistic, semantic-based and adaptation-aware component specification and retrieval. As the foundation, a Multiple-Viewed and Interrelated Component Specification ontology model (MVICS) is first developed for component specification and repository building. The MVICS model provides an ontology-based architecture to specify components from a range of perspectives; it integrates the knowledge of Component-Based Software Engineering (CBSE), and supports ontology evolution to reflect the continuous developments in CBD and components. A formal definition of the MVICS model is presented, which ensures the rigorousness of the model and supports the high level of automation of the retrieval. Furthermore, the MVICS model has a smooth mechanism to integrate with domain related software system ontology. Such integration enhances the function and application scope of the MVICS model by bringing more domain semantics into component specification and retrieval. Another improved feature of the proposed approach is that the effect of possible component adaptation is extended to the related components. Finally a comprehensive profile of the result components shows the search results to the user from a summary to satisfied and unsatisfied discrepancy details. The above features of the approach are well integrated, which enables a holistic view in semantic-based component specification and retrieval.
A prototype tool was developed to exert the power of the MVICS model in expressing semantics and process automation in component specification and retrieval. The tool implements the complete process of component search. Three case studies have been undertaken to illustrate and evaluate the usability and correctness of the approach, in terms of supporting accurate component specification and retrieval, seamless linkage with a domain ontology, adaptive component suggestion and comprehensive result component profile.
A conclusion is drawn based on an analysis of the feedback from the case studies, which shows that the proposed approach can be deployed in real life industrial development. The benefits of MVICS include not only the improvement of the component search precision and recall, reducing the development time and the repository maintenance effort, but also the decrease of human intervention on CBD.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    20 July 2012

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    QA76 Computer software

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    004.2 Systems analysis, design & performance


Li, C. A holistic semantic based approach to component specification and retrieval. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Component-based development; component repositories; local; global; syntax-based approach; semantic-based approach;

Monthly Views:

Available Documents