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What's Wrong With Object-Oriented Programming?

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What's Wrong With Object-Oriented Programming?

Yegor Bugayenko mines the web to discover opinions about OO from many programming luminaries.

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Recently, I was trying to convince a few of my readers that a better understanding of an object in OOP would help us solve many problems in existing pseudo-object-oriented languages. Then, suddenly, the question came up: "What problems?" I was puzzled. I thought it was obvious that the vast majority of modern software written in modern OO languages is unmaintainable and simply a mess. So I Googled a bit, and this is what I found (in chronological order).

The list of quotes is sorted in chronological order, with the oldest on the top:


Edsger W. Dijkstra in "TUG LINES", Issue 32, August 1989: "Object oriented programs are offered as alternatives to correct ones" and "Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California."


Alan Kay in The Computer Revolution hasn't happened yet, OOPSLA'97 Keynote: "I invented the term object-oriented, and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind."


Paul Graham in The Hundred-Year Language: "Object-oriented programming offers a sustainable way to write spaghetti code."


Linus Torvalds in this email: "C++ is a horrible language. ... C++ leads to really, really bad design choices. ... In other words, the only way to do good, efficient, and system-level and portable C++ ends up to limit yourself to all the things that are basically available in C. And limiting your project to C means that people don't screw that up, and also means that you get a lot of programmers that do actually understand low-level issues and don't screw things up with any idiotic 'object model' crap."


Oscar Nierstrasz in Ten Things I Hate About Object-Oriented Programming: "OOP is about taming complexity through modeling, but we have not mastered this yet, possibly because we have difficulty distinguishing real and accidental complexity."


Rich Hickey at SE Radio, Episode 158: "I think that large objected-oriented programs struggle with increasing complexity as you build this large object graph of mutable objects. You know, trying to understand and keep in your mind what will happen when you call a method and what will the side effects be."


Joe Armstrong in Why OO Sucks: "Objects bind functions and data structures together in indivisible units. I think this is a fundamental error since functions and data structures belong in totally different worlds."


Rob Pike (here): "Object-oriented programming, whose essence is nothing more than programming using data with associated behaviors, is a powerful idea. It truly is. But it's not always the best idea. ... Sometimes data is just data and functions are just functions."


John Barker in All evidence points to OOP being bullshit: "What OOP introduces are abstractions that attempt to improve code sharing and security. In many ways, it is still essentially procedural code."


Lawrence Krubner in Object Oriented Programming is an expensive disaster which must end: "We now know that OOP is an experiment that failed. It is time to move on. It is time that we, as a community, admit that this idea has failed us, and we must give up on it."

I can't find a source this quote (maybe you can help?):

Alan Kay: "Java and C++ make you think that the new ideas are like the old ones. Java is the most distressing thing to happen to computing since MS-DOS."

If you have something to add to this list, please post a comment below.

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object oriented programming ,oop ,oo design

Published at DZone with permission of Yegor Bugayenko, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.


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