School of Computer Science
Concern Tracing Mechanism for Eclipse


[20 September 2007] ConcernDetector has been released! Version 0.0.1 is out.


Parnas used the term "ignorant surgery" to refer to changes made to an evolving software by developers who do not fully understand the original design concepts behind it. Such alterations are widespread in the field of software engineering and are likely to cause the structure of the program to degrade. One way to mitigate this problem is to use annotations or artifacts to document how various parts of the source code relate to different high-level concerns or features.

ConcernDetector is a plug-in for Eclipse that automatically detects the concerns that might be related to a developer's current work by considering the program elements that are being modified.

With ConcernDetector, developers will receive both warning and suggestion in the form of concerns traced whenever a program element that is related to latter is touched. This will prevent "ignorant surgery".

Screen Shots

Click on the description to see the screen shot.


ConcernDetector depends on
ConcernMapper . To install ConcernDetector, please download and install ConcernMapper first.

You can easily install ConcernDetector through Eclipse's update mechanism. ConcernDetector is distributed under the terms of the Eclipse Public License, v. 1.0

System requirements: Eclipse 3.2, Java 1.4. ConcernDetector is currently tested on Windows, Linux and MacOS X

To install ConcernDetector:

  1. From the Eclipse menu bar, select Help | Software Updates | Find and Install...
  2. Select "Search for new features to install" and click Next >
  3. Click on the New Remote Site... button.
  4. For the name, enter "ConcernDetector". For the URL, enter "", and click OK
  5. Select the new ConcernDetector entry in the list and click Finish
  6. In the list of features to install, select the root node of the ConcernDetector tree, and click Next >
  7. Select that you accept the terms of the license agreement, and click Next >
  8. Click Finish, and then Install
  9. Restart your workspace.

To update an existing installation of ConcernDetector:

  1. Make sure that your version of Eclipse allows compatible updates. Select Window | Preferences | Install/Update and make sure the compatible radio button is selected under Valid updates.
  2. Select Help | Software Updates | Manage Configuration
  3. Select the ConcernDetector feature.
  4. Click on Scan for Updates, and go through the motions.

To obtain the source code of ConcernDetector:

The ConcernDetector source code is provided in the plug-in directory. To obtain the source code:

  1. Install ConcernDetector as directed above.
  2. Find the directory named ca.mcgill.cs.swevo.concerndetector_... in the plugin directory of your Eclipse installation.
  3. Access the directory src.


For this release of Concern Mapper, please note that ConcernMapper must not be running with the legacy (pre 1.4) format for serializing Java elements. To make sure that this is the case, consult the ConcernMapper preferences. Detailed documentation for ConcernDetector is included in the Eclipse help.


Search and report issues with ConcernDetector using
Bugzilla (ConcernDetector product).


ConcernDetector is currently developed and maintained by
Putra Manggala with contributions from Martin Robillard.

Contact Information

Address questions and comments to
Putra Manggala.

Copyright © Martin Robillard 2005-2007