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Screw it or Glue it? Access to Object variables - a warning

If you screw two pieces of material together, you have the opportunity, later on, to unscrew them ... resuse them differently, install a waterproof membrane between them, and so on. But if you glue them together, later modification will be much harder or perhaps impossible. And in a similar way, if you're connecting two pieced of software together it's better to screw them than to glue them. What am I getting at?

If you access a member variable within an object directly from your main calling code, then you don't leave yourself the opportunity to intersperse some extra check or twist later on, whereas if you access all member variables via methods - even if they are really just empty wrappers, you leave yourself the flexibility for later. Let's see an example.

Here is a (Python) class:

class pidgeon:
  def __init__(self, name, value):
    self.name=name
    self.value=value
  def getvalue(self):
    return self.value


which I can use like this:

george = pidgeon("John Smith",200)
gina = pidgeon("Jenny Smith",50)
print "Value of George is",george.getvalue();
print "Value of Gina is",gina.getvalue();


and it will print out 200 and 50. Here is an alternative class:

class woodpecker:
  def __init__(self, name, value):
    self.name=name
    self.value=value


and I can access the data, more simply, as follows:

print "Value of Gerry is",gerry.value;
print "Value of Graeme is",graeme.value;


I now want to set a mimimum value of 75 pounds on all birds - pidgeons and woodpeckers. With pidgeons, it's easy - I just modify the getvalue method as follows:

  def getvalue(self):
    if self.value < 75: return 75
    return self.value


but with my woodpecker class I'm stuck.

Pidgeons are like screws, and woodpeckers stick like glue!

Full Source code of example.
(written 2007-09-12)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Q909 - Object Orientation and General technical topics - Object Orientation: Composite Objects
  [4450] Deciding whether to use parameters, conditional statements or subclasses - (2015-03-05)
  [4394] Philosophy behind object design - and how I applied in to a Java example - (2015-01-14)
  [4377] Designing a base class and subclasses, and their extension, in C++ - (2015-01-01)
  [3979] Extended and Associated objects - what is the difference - C++ example - (2013-01-18)
  [3609] How do classes relate to each other? Associated Classes - (2012-02-12)
  [3251] C++ - objects that are based on other objects, saving coding and adding robustness - (2011-04-17)
  [3152] Jargon busting - (2011-01-30)
  [3142] Private and Public - and things between - (2011-01-22)
  [2922] Getting the OO design write - with PHP a example - (2010-08-14)
  [2865] Relationships between Java classes - inheritance, packaging and others - (2010-07-10)
  [2641] Object Oriented Programming in PHP - (2010-02-19)
  [2170] Designing a heirarcy of classes - getting inheritance right - (2009-05-11)
  [1345] Perl and Shell coding standards / costs of an IT project - (2007-09-11)
  [592] NOT Gone phishing - (2006-02-05)
  [477] Class, static and unbound variables - (2005-10-25)

Y106 - Object Oriented Python
  [4721] When to check an object type - Python isinstance example - (2016-11-03)
  [4650] Why populate object with values as you construct them? - (2016-02-18)
  [4591] From single block to structure and object oriented programming - (2015-12-02)
  [4448] What is the difference between a function and a method? - (2015-03-04)
  [4129] Simple OO demonstration in C++, comparison to Python - (2013-07-01)
  [4028] Really Simple Class and Inheritance example in Python - (2013-03-04)
  [4021] Spike solution, refactored and reusable, Python - Example - (2013-02-28)
  [3947] this or self - what are they, and what is the difference? (Python) - (2012-12-08)
  [3878] From Structured to Object Oriented Programming. - (2012-10-02)
  [3673] Object oriented or structured - a comparison in Python. Also writing clean regular expressions - (2012-03-26)
  [3436] Moving from scripting to Object Orientation in Python - (2011-09-13)
  [3399] From fish, loaves and apples to money, plastic cards and BACS (Perl references explained) - (2011-08-20)
  [3085] Object Oriented Programming for Structured Programmers - conversion training - (2010-12-14)
  [2604] Tips for writing a test program (Ruby / Python / Java) - (2010-01-29)
  [2169] When should I use OO techniques? - (2009-05-11)
  [2017] Python - a truly dynamic language - (2009-01-30)
  [1925] Introduction to Object Oriented Programming - (2008-12-06)
  [1306] Python class rattling around - (2007-08-16)
  [900] Python - function v method - (2006-10-20)
  [834] Python makes University Challenge - (2006-08-15)


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