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Xavier Pintado, "The Affinity Browser", in Object-Oriented Software Composition, pp. 245-272, , , , 1995


Large numbers of classes, complex inheritance and containment graphs, and diverse patterns of dynamic interaction all contribute to difficulties in understanding, reusing, debugging, and tuning large object-oriented systems. These difficulties may have a significant impact on the usefulness of such systems. Tools that help in understanding the contents and behaviour of an object-oriented environment should play a major role in reducing such difficulties. Such tools allow for the exploration of different aspects of a software environment such as inheritance structures, part-of relationships, etc. However, object-oriented systems differ in many respects from traditional database systems, and in particular, conventional querying mechanisms used in databases show poor performance when used for the exploration of objectoriented environments. This chapter defines the requirements for effective exploration mechanisms in the realm of object-oriented environments. We propose an approach to browsing based on the notion of affinity that satisfies such requirements. Our tool, the affinity browser, provides a visual representation of object relationships presented in terms of affinity. Objects that appear closer in the visual representation are more strongly related than objects lying farther apart. So, the intensity of a relationship is translated into distance in the visual representation that provides the support for user navigation. We provide many examples of metrics defined over the objects of an environment to illustrate how object relationships can be translated in terms of affinity so that they can be used for the exploration of an environment.


Author = "Xavier Pintado",
Title = "The Affinity Browser",
Booktitle = "Object-Oriented Software Composition",
Chapter = "",
Volume = "",
Publisher = "Prentice Hall",
Edition = "O. Nierstrasz and D. Tsichritzis",
Series = "",
ISBN = "",
Address = "",
Key = "olit osg OOSC09",
Notes = "",
Month = "",
Year = "1995"
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