Building distributed systems is particularly difficult because of the asynchronous, heterogeneous, and failure-prone environment where these systems must run. Tools for building distributed systems must strike a compromise between reducing programmer effort and increasing system efficiency. We present Mace, a C++ language extension and source-to-source compiler that translates a concise but expressive distributed system specification into a C++ implementation. Mace overcomes the limitations of low-level languages by providing a unified framework for networking and event handling, and the limitations of high-level languages by allowing programmers to write program components in a controlled and structured manner in C++. By imposing structure and restrictions on how applications can be written, Mace supports debugging at a higher level, including support for efficient model checking and causal-path debugging. Because Mace programs compile to C++, programmers can use existing C++ tools, including optimizers, profilers, and debuggers to analyze their systems.
Proceedings of the 29th ACM Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation, 2007. (PLDI 2007).