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Communications of the ACM

Class management for software communities


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Object-oriented programming may engender an approach to software development characterized by the large-scale reuse of object classes. Large-scale reuse is the use of a class not just by its original developers, but by other developers who may be from other organizations, and may use the classes over a long period of time. Our hypothesis is that the successful dissemination and reuse of classes requires a well-organized community of developers who are ready to share ideas, methods, tools and code. Furthermore, these communities should be supported by software information systems which manage and provide access to class collections. In the following sections we motivate the need for software communities and software information systems. The bulk of this article discusses various issues associated with managing the very large class collections produced and used by these communities.

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