COPL, the Tandem, PLITS and JAVA (WAS Re: Eppur si sugat)

Peter-Henry Mander erlang@REDACTED
Thu May 29 09:17:30 CEST 2003

Morning Chris,

> Smalltalk-style OO *is* "communicating black boxes" AFAICT.

> Once (on another mailing list far far away) I proposed that one of the
> properties of objects was that they were chronologically independent
> (i.e. - since they isolated state from one another, they could well be
> concurrent.)  Naturally, most people on that list thought that was
> ridiculous, since they don't do that in Java or C++, so it's "not OO".

...and this is why almost so called OO _languages_ suck! The OO 
"paradigm" itself is not objectionable(!) to me, but the current 
*implementations* are. Smalltalk is probably the least offensive example 
of OO that I can think of, and having used a similar late-binding 
loose-typed proprietry language I can appreciate the rapid prototyping 
and runtime error recovery. But C++ and Java have lost these most 
attractive aspects by attempting to be strong-typed and early-binding.

> [...] in order for a replacement for records to not suck as
> badly, some research would have to be done into what means of
> aggregating data & code have succeeded in not sucking.  i.e. to look
> into fields like OO and take what works and leave behind what doesn't.

I find that records in themselves are syntactically ugly, but 
semantically useful. The only thing about records I would change would 
be the syntax, and only for aesthetic reasons.

> But if the anti-OO sentiment in Erlang becomes fundamental, there's no
> point - anything from OO would be rejected on the grounds that OO
> inherently sucks for COPL - [...]

We discussed this at the London Erlounge over a few pints and fine food 
at the last night, and I think that dogmatism 
tends to set in when all one has is a single paradigm to use as an 
abstraction of our perception of the world and as a frame for our 
beliefs. A Java/C++ programmer without knowledge of other programming 
languages can only grasp concepts that relate to Java/C++. I don't think 
that the good people discussing on this list are exclusively Erlang 
evangelists or even functional fundamentalists, and wouldn't reject a 
good idea simply because it's not FP/COPL. In fact I've mostly found 
that ideas are freely discussed here, it's a pleasantly open-minded 
discussion group.


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