Section: New Results

Web programming

Participants : Zhengqin Luo, Cyprien Nicolas, Tamara Rezk, Bernard Serpette, Manuel Serrano [correspondant] .

Reasoning about Web Applications: An Operational Semantics for HOP

We propose a small-step operational semantics to support reasoning about web applications written in the multi-tier language HOP. The semantics covers both server side and client side computations, as well as their interactions, and includes creation of web services, distributed client-server communications, concurrent evaluation of service requests at server side, elaboration of HTML documents, DOM operations, evaluation of script nodes in HTML documents and actions from HTML pages at client side. We also model the browser same origin policy (SOP) in the semantics. We propose a safety property by which programs do not get stuck due to a violation of the SOP and a type system to enforce it. This work appeared in TOPLAS [7] .


We pursued the development of the Hiphop orchestration language. The first version was written as a DSL with very few connection to Hop. During this year, we changed Hiphop syntax to blend it better with Hop. All Hiphop objects are now Hop values, and thus Hiphop programs can benefit from all Hop featues. The Hiphop development has enabled us to improve Hop stability and quality in client code generation.

We have found a new use-case for Hiphop: Robotics. We are currently working with the Inria Coprin team to pilot their robot using Hop and Hiphop. We have already used Hop to program with low-level motors API (using the Phidget libraries). Hop enabled us to distribute the robot control application over HTTP, in order to control the robot from a smartphone or tablet.

A CPS definition of HipHop

Since the Esterel model is used very dynamically in the HipHop framework, we have begun studying new frameworks of computations. We designed a definition of a HipHop-core, which is similar to Esterel-core, based on continuations. This approach allows a specification close to the implementation. The main problem was to define a predicate assuring the absence of a specific signal in the current instant. For this, we have designed a static analysis that predicts, for each program point and for each signal, the number of emissions remaining to be done until the end of the instant. The prediction may be over-estimated but when a null value is reached the corresponding signal can be considered as absent for the analyzed instant.

Contrary to existing analyses, this prediction can be done at compile time. Nevertheless some extra computations must be inserted in the evaluator to adjust a runtime prediction. For example. this is done when one branch of a conditional is dynamically taken, but adjusting the prediction only involves subtractions on global counters.

The continuation based definition doesn't prevent a space efficiency implementation. Esterel is known to be compiled to hardware and thus able to run a program in a fixed space of silicon; in the same manner we have implemented an evaluator than doesn't allocate extra memories while running a program: all the continuations can be allocated at compile time.

We have also extended the language to reach the HipHop definition. Some dynamic extensions (mappar ) may dynamically allocate some resources but we were able to tune the static analysis to insure both confluence and constructive absence detection.