[Haskell-cafe] Re: State of OOP in Haskell

Benjamin Franksen benjamin.franksen at bessy.de
Tue Jan 30 17:28:09 EST 2007

Yitzchak Gale wrote:
> Steve Downey wrote:
>> OO, at least when done well, maps well to how people think.
> Um, better duck. I am afraid you are about to draw
> some flames on that one. I hope people will try
> to be gentle.

No problem ;-)

I'll never get tired quoting Dijkstra; one of the things that stuck in my
mind is when he argues that 'the way people normally think' may simply not
be appropriate to automatic computing aka programming, and that for this
reason it may be contra-productive to appeal to this usual way of
thinking -- however expedient it may seem in the short run. The failure of
OO (to deliver on its many promises) IMHO nicely illustrates this. Of
course people /like/ to think of 'objects' and their 'behavior' etc.,
it /is/ a very intuituive approach, because it is the way we are used to
think. Unfortunately that doesn't necessarily make it effective for precise
reasoning about the large and complex digital systems we are constructing.
It may, in fact, be more effective to short-cut all these centuries (if not
millenia) old thinking habits and cut straight to the chase: see programs
as formulas to be reasoned about with formal methods (such as equational
reasoning, which is a particularly good fit for Haskell with its equational
notation and pure functional semantics).


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