A technique for clarifying the implementation of relationships between objects to enhance software reuse
The thesis describes a novel design technique, called the Sociable class design method, which can be used to improve the representation of one particular type of relationship between objects in object oriented systems. A study, using several object oriented programming languages, has been carried out to demonstrate the feasibility of implementing the design method. The proposed design method has been used in the development of a full case study which was implemented in Eiffel v2.3. The constructs used by the design method are intended to overcome some of the technical problems associated with the reuse of software components. Traceability is identified, from a study of various engineering environments, as important for improving reusability of components in engineering. This thesis demonstrates that existing object oriented development methods do not provide traceability of all types of identifiable relationships between objects. The novel design method described improves the traceability of one of these types of relationship. The proposed design technique is evaluated against other techniques which can be used to implement the same relationship. The evaluation indicates that the increased traceability provided by the new method simplifies the design of both the components and the overall system, thereby improving the reusability of the components and the extensibility of the system.