Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Raphael A. Finkel


This dissertation describes an extension to the Eiffel programming language that provides automatic object persistence (the ability of programs to store objects and later recreate those objects in a subsequent execution of a program). The mechanism is orthogonal to other aspects of the Eiffel language. The mechanism serves four main purposes: 1) it gives Eiffel programmers a needed service, filling a gap between serialization, which provides limited persistence functions and database-mapping, which is cumbersome to use; 2) it greatly reduces the coding burden incurred by the programmer when objects must persist, allowing the programmer to focus instead on the business model; 3) it provides a platform for testing the benefits of orthogonal persistence in Eiffel, and 4) it furnishes a model for orthogonal persistence in other object-oriented languages.

During my research, I created a prototype implementation of the persistence mechanism using it effectively in several programs. Performance measurements showed acceptable performance with some increase in program memory usage. The prototype gives the programmer the ability to add automatic persistence to existing code with the addition of only a few lines of code. The size of this additional code remains constant regardless of the total number of lines of code in the project. Eiffel syntax remains unchanged and nonpersistent Eiffel code runs as is while incur- ring only a very small speed penalty.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)