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The Essence of Objects: Common Concepts and Terminology

Snyder, Alan



Abstract: Concepts originally developed in object-oriented programming languages are appearing in many other domains. There are object-oriented databases, object-oriented application frameworks and integration platforms, even object-oriented user interfaces. Object concepts are widely used in distributed systems and are prominent in the draft ISO standards for the management of open systems. In reviewing the "object" concepts in several systems, we believe we have identified the essential concepts that appear in most or all of these systems. Identifying the common concepts is made more difficult by a lack of common terminology. The lack of common terminology hinders communication among researchers, developers and users. In this report, we propose a common terminology for object concepts, chosen to be broadly applicable to many domains, not just programming languages. We describe the essential concepts, give examples, and provide a glossary defining the key terms.

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