Maybe Erlang is OO after all?

Roberto Amorim <>
Fri Aug 22 21:42:59 CEST 2003


> In other words, claiming OO for Erlang is a bit like claiming
> functionalness for C - yes you *can* do it, but it's not practical...

Well put.

> Actually, the "most OO" language that I know is Smalltalk, which does
> dynamic dispatch on *everything*, including integer arithmetic.

Smalltalk is still my favorite language - it just feels right to me. I'm an
Erlang newbie, I admit, but I doubt it will be so natural for me as
Smalltalk is (even though I'm enjoying Erlang).

> Also, I don't see much gain in claiming OO-ness for Erlang. The OO hype
> is the Cobol of the last and (as it seems) current decade.
> The one lasting value of OO that I see is its insistence on isolation.
> The polymorphism aspects of OO are far overrated, and tend to leave type
> holes in murky areas of the language specification. (The bad thing is
> that these type holes tend to go unnoticed for three to fifteen years,
> depending on how much polymorphic type theory the language designer has
> under the hood - and there's usually a deficit there.)

I don't see OO fading away so soon - in fact, I doubt it will, IMHO. But I
admit you have a point. I agree OO is generally overrated, and polymorphism
in particular. In fact, IMHO, one of the main weaknesses of class-based OO
is its dependence on good design - without which you have to rely on heavy
refactoring.

Prototype-based OO is more flexible, but big systems can grow to extreme
levels of complexity if you don't take measures against disordinate growth
and modification.

Functional languages seem to be more flexible to design changes and
adaptations, but as long as I'm concerned, it remains to be seen. :-)

Just my .02 worth...

Roberto






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