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An Empirical Study of Object Protocols in the Nels E. Beckman, Duri Kim, and Jonathan Aldrich

Summary: An Empirical Study of Object Protocols in the
Nels E. Beckman, Duri Kim, and Jonathan Aldrich
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
{nbeckman,aldrich}@cs.cmu.edu, duri.kim@alumni.cmu.edu
Abstract. An active area of research in computer science is the preven-
tion of violations of object protocols, i.e., restrictions on temporal order-
ings of method calls on an object. However, little is understood about
object protocols in practice. This paper describes an empirical study
of object protocols in some popular open-source Java programs. In our
study, we have attempted to determine how often object protocols are
defined, and how often they are used, while also developing a taxonomy
of similar protocols. In the open-source projects in our study, comprising
almost two million lines of code, approximately 7.2% of all types defined
protocols, while 13% of classes were clients of types defining protocols.
(For comparison, 2.5% of the types in the Java library define type pa-
rameters using Java Generics.) This suggests that protocol checking tools
are widely applicable.
1 Introduction
Object protocols are rules dictating the ordering of method calls on objects of a


Source: Aldrich, Jonathan - School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences