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Designing Extensible Classes

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1 Author(s)

This paper discusses about the design of extensible classes. Designers seek design rules that guarantee well-formed class hierarchies, appropriate interfaces, and easily extensible classes. Unfortunately, the detailed design of extensible class hierarchies is filled with nuanced reasoning. Building clean abstractions with clearly defined extension points is satisfying, but the best design choice isn't always obvious. How much access should you give a subclass to a class's inner workings? How much freedom should you give a subclass designer to "bend" inherited behaviors to make a new abstraction fit in or to extend an existing one? These decisions involve nuanced reasoning. The contract between a class and its subclasses requires thoughtful design, experimentation, and careful specification.

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

Sept.-Oct. 2007

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