Signature Matching, a Tool for Using Software Libraries

Authors: Amy Moormann Zaremski and Jeannette M. Wing

ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (TOSEM), April 1995.

The full text of this paper is here (in PostScript).


Signature matching is a method for organizing, navigating through, and retrieving from software libraries. We consider two kinds of software library components, functions and modules, and hence two kinds of matching, function matching and module matching. The signature of a function is simply its type; the signature of a module is a multiset of user-defined types and a multiset of function signatures. For both functions and modules, we consider not just exact match, but also various flavors of relaxed match. We describe various applications of signature matching as a tool for using software libraries, inspired by the use of our implementation of a function signature matcher written in Standard ML.
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