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Conclusion

Many of the benefits and pitfalls of class-based inheritance are widely known. Object-based inheritance has remained in relative obscurity. Although it has been long been a tool in prototype-based programming, it has less often been applied to business modeling. By examining the concept in the context of business modeling, we find that object inheritance is immensely useful in three collaboration patterns: actor—role, item—specific item, and composite transaction—line item. By identifying the particular aspects of object inheritance that are useful and by being careful to properly limit its scope, object inheritance can be implemented in a class-based language such as Java.

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