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Tool support for implementation of object-oriented class relationships and patterns

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Author(s): James H. Paterson | John Haddow

Journal: ITALICS
ISSN 1473-7507

Volume: 6;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 108;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: design | object-orientation | code-generation | Java | patterns

ABSTRACT
This paper reports the use of the PatternCoder tool in the teaching of object-oriented design and programming. This tool has been developed by the authors as an extension to the BlueJ Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE). PatternCoder encapsulates knowledge of design patterns and basic class relationships, and of the techniques required for their implementation in Java. It guides students through a step-by-step process: select an appropriate pattern or relationship; give the classes which participate in the pattern names relevant to the current problem domain; and generate code for minimal Java class definitions which can then be explored and extended. The tool was initially developed with a view to teaching advanced design patterns, but we have explored its use within introductory classes, viewing binary class relationships as simple design patterns. Initial experience with the tool within an introductory Java module has been positive, with students actively choosing to use the tool and feeling that the teaching approach based on its use was beneficial to their understanding of class relationships.
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