OT - Re: GPL Java

Levi Pearson levi at cold.org
Fri Nov 10 21:42:58 MST 2006

On Nov 10, 2006, at 9:16 AM, Ross Werner wrote:
> I'm still not convinced. I'd love to see some production Smalltalk  
> or Ruby code that is object-oriented that is less noun-oriented  
> than its Java counterpart would be. The examples in the article  
> are, of course, exaggerations, and neither production Java or  
> Smalltalk or Ruby code would really look like that. But they would  
> definitely be more "noun-oriented" than equivalent procedural code.

The key difference between the C++/Java model of OOP and the  
Smalltalk/Ruby model of OOP is that in the former, the verbs are  
entirely owned by the nouns, and in the latter they are merely  
strongly associated.  Clearly, a verb must have a different  
implementation for a different type of data; in Java/C++, the verb  
itself is bound to the type to ensure that there is always an  
implementation available.  In Smalltalk/Ruby, the verb exists  
independent of the noun; you can validly send any message to any  
object, though the object may not necessarily understand it.  Nouns  
can even provide ways to cleanly handle messages that they don't  
understand.  Perhaps you may still view it as noun-dominated, but it  
is definitely on the borderline.

In the Common Lisp Object System, verbs don't belong to nouns at  
all.  They belong to 'generic functions' that can be given special  
implementations to cope with different kinds of nouns.  There are  
more differences than that, but I believe this is the key difference  
with regard to this discussion.

>> And you didn't even mention functional languages.
> Okay, object-oriented programming is noun-dominated, procedural  
> programming is verb-dominated, and functional programming is  
> parentheses-dominated. Happy now? ;)

Most functional languages aren't particularly parenthesized these  
days.  SML, OCaml, Haskell, Scala, etc.  Common Lisp doesn't even  
make you write programs in a very functional manner, it just lets you  
do so if you want to.  It's definitely verb-oriented, though!


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