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Materialization and Its Metaclass Implementation
September/October 2002 (vol. 14 no. 5)
pp. 1078-1094

Abstract—Materialization is a powerful and ubiquitous abstraction pattern for conceptual modeling that relates a class of categories (e.g., models of cars) and a class of more concrete objects (e.g., individual cars). This paper presents materialization as a generic relationship between two classes of objects and describes an abstract implementation of it. The presentation is abstract in that it is not targeted at a specific object system. The target system is supposed to provide: 1) basic object-modeling facilities, supplemented with an explicit metaclass concept and 2) operations for dynamic schema evolution like creation or deletion of a subclass of a given class and modification of the type of an attribute of a class. The presentation is generic in that the semantics of materialization is implemented in a metaclass, which is a template to be instantiated in applications. Application classes are created as instances of the metaclass and they are thereby endowed with structure and behavior consistent with the generic semantics of materialization.

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Index Terms:
Conceptual modeling, generic relationship, object orientation, metaclass, materialization, inheritance.
Mohamed Dahchour, Alain Pirotte, Esteban Zimányi, "Materialization and Its Metaclass Implementation," IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 1078-1094, Sept.-Oct. 2002, doi:10.1109/TKDE.2002.1033775
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