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Object collaborations are at the core of all object-oriented programming, yet current class-based object-oriented programming languages do not provide an explicit construct to capture the relationships between objects. This paper reports on an empirical study that investigates the occurrence of object collaborations to assess the need of intrinsic support for relationships in a programming language. The authors introduce a categorization of possible forms of object collaborations and their corresponding implementation patterns when using a traditional class-based object-oriented language (Java) and analyze 25 Java programs (ranging from 4 to 6275 classes) with the Relationship Detector for Java (RelDJ) to identify occurrences of these patterns.
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