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A Software Tool for Optimal Class-Hierarchy Design



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A Software Tool for Optimal Class Hierarchy Design Based on the Use Relationship Among Functions and Variables Nigel Gwee Computer Science Department Southern University and A M College Baton Rouge LA 70813 USA nigel cmps subr edu Abstract We present a software tool for creating an optimal classhierarchy from the use relationship among data items and functions based on the method in Kundu and Gwee 3 The tool determines the classes and their inheritance relationship including the assignment of variables and functions to the various classes and their appropriate access levels private etc We define a class design language for modeling the classes and the userelationship and a script language for manipulating the classes The input to the tool and its operations are based on the constructs of these languages We illustrate the tool with a small non trivial class design problem 1 INTRODUCTION Although various metrics have been suggested 1 2 to measure the quality of a class hierarchy a general definition of an optimal class hierarchy remains elusive an optimal class hierarchy for software efficiency may not necessarily be optimal for maintainability Kundu and Gwee 3 consider a class hierarchy to be optimal if it minimizes unnecessary access of functions to data and to other functions and if it avoids unduly long chains of single inheritance classes Based on this they presented a method to create an optimal class hierarchy design from a given use relationship among a set of functions and dataitems which includes the inputs and outputs of those functions Their method first extracts a partial ordering of the functions from the use relationship and thereby creates an initial class hierarchy and then uses a series of operations to improve the class hierarchy via refactoring and decomposition of classes and merging of variables and functions 5 We present here a tool called OCHD Optimal Class Hierarchy Designer to demonstrate the feasibility of the method in 3 We illustrate the



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