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Comparison of Object Oriented Philosophy - Python, Java, C++, Perl

There are two different philosophies that have been adopted by the authors of Object Oriented languages.

The first approach is to set the thing up in such a way that a programmer who uses someone else's code as the basis for his isn't going to be trusted to use that other person's code in a sensible manner. This is the approach taken by languages such as Java and C++, where the programmer who writes the classes / modules that are going to be re-used inserts words like "public", "private" and "protected" all over the code, and declares "virtual functions" or "abstract methods" as appropriate. This forces a user-programmer of the class / module to only make calls that are allowed by his 'supplier' - strict adherance to that person's law is necessary.

The result of this first approach is a system that's pretty cast-iron in what it provides, and it means that even the newest of newcomers to a project isn't going to break an unwritten rule (since the rules are written!!). But at what cost? It's the equivalent of having a policeman at each street corner checking up on everything everyone done ... and yet most of us don't need the incentive of having a policeman on every corner to ensure we don't exceed the speed limit!

Roll out the second approach - taken by Python and Perl. In these languages, the programmer who writes the code that makes use of a base class / package / module from elsewhere is trusted to make sensible use of that base class. It cuts out the need to "public" everything that's to be public. It cuts out the need to define abstract methods. It even cuts out the need to define classes as inheriting from a base class if all that you're looking for is a list of objects that are polymorphic ("have methods of the same name to do the same thing"). Much quicker and easier to code - much more effective - with a big IF ... and that's that it's much more effective IF you can trust your higher level user.

Do you consider yourself to be a "boy racer"? Would you go mad and mow people down as you drive along the road if it wasn't for a covert or overt police presence? Of course you wouldn't! You do things legally, don't you? Perhaps the very occasional compromise at the edges - come on, we've all done something we shouldn't at some time in our life - but basically we're law abiding citizens for the most part, going along with the law and the spirit of what's intended by the law.

And so it is with programming - the vast majority of developers who call up other people's code will abide by the rules set down, even if they're able to break the rules without the compiler stopping them. The vast majority of developers are NOT boy-racers, and any such temptation will in any case be brought to book later on when the person managing the project asks them "why the ****" if something has gone wrong, or they find themselves wasting hours sorting out the side effect of some transgression.

It turns out, then, that the Python and Perl approach of trusting the code re-user makes for much quicker and shorter coding for the original class author, and for the code re-user ... provided that both are reasonably responsible people. And that's typically gooing to be the case. Only where you have code that's going to be re-used by someone who could be considered as a bull in a china shop, or where the stakes of an error are so high as to having mere trust be unacceptable (critical banking, nuclear and defense applications) do you require the policeman-waiting-to-pounce philosophy that's imposed by C++ and Java.
(written 2006-08-13, updated 2006-08-14)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Y112 - Python - Objects - Intermediate
  [296] Using a Python dictionary as a holder of object attributes - (2005-04-30)
  [383] Overloading of operators on standard objects in Python - (2005-07-19)
  [477] Class, static and unbound variables - (2005-10-25)
  [656] Think about your design even if you don't use full UML - (2006-03-24)
  [903] Pieces of Python - (2006-10-23)
  [964] Practical polymorphism in action - (2006-12-04)
  [1146] __new__ v __init__ - python constructor alternatives? - (2007-04-14)
  [1217] What are factory and singleton classes? - (2007-06-04)
  [1517] Python - formatting objects - (2008-01-24)
  [1644] Using a utility method to construct objects of different types - Python - (2008-05-17)
  [1661] Equality, sameness and identity - Python - (2008-05-31)
  [1819] Calling base class constructors - (2008-10-03)
  [2368] Python - fresh examples of all the fundamentals - (2009-08-20)
  [2409] TypeError: super() argument 1 must be type, not classobj (Python) - (2009-09-18)
  [2485] How do I set up a constant in Python? - (2009-10-31)
  [2693] Methods that run on classes (static methods) in Python - (2010-03-25)
  [2717] The Multiple Inheritance Conundrum, interfaces and mixins - (2010-04-11)
  [2720] Multiple inheritance in Python - complete working example - (2010-04-14)
  [2722] Mixins example in Python - (2010-04-14)
  [2764] Python decorators - your own, staticmethod and classmethod - (2010-05-14)
  [2785] The Light bulb moment when people see how Object Orientation works in real use - (2010-05-28)
  [2889] Should Python classes each be in their own file? - (2010-07-27)
  [2905] Defining static methods in Python - (2010-08-05)
  [2994] Python - some common questions answered in code examples - (2010-10-10)
  [3002] A list of special method and attribute names in Python - (2010-10-17)
  [3442] A demonstration of how many Python facilities work together - (2011-09-16)
  [3472] Static variables in functions - and better ways using objects - (2011-10-10)
  [3524] Metaclasses (Python) and Metatables (Lua) - (2011-11-17)
  [3796] Backquote, backtic, str and repr in Python - conversion object to string - (2012-07-05)
  [3887] Inheritance, Composition and Associated objects - when to use which - Python example - (2012-10-10)
  [4028] Really Simple Class and Inheritance example in Python - (2013-03-04)
  [4094] Python Properties - how and why - (2013-05-18)
  [4344] Python base and inherited classes, test harness and unit testing - new examples - (2014-12-07)
  [4356] Object factories in C++, Python, PHP and Perl - (2014-12-19)
  [4366] Changing what operators do on objects - a comparison across different programming languages - (2014-12-26)
  [4410] A good example of recursion - a real use in Python - (2015-02-01)
  [4449] Spike solution, refactoring into encapsulated object methods - good design practise - (2015-03-05)
  [4450] Deciding whether to use parameters, conditional statements or subclasses - (2015-03-05)
  [4541] Setting up and tearing down with the Python with keyword - (2015-10-16)
  [4649] Object and Static methods - what is the difference; example in Python 3 - (2016-02-17)
  [4717] with in Python - examples of use, and of defining your own context - (2016-11-02)
  [4718] Defining an object that is a modified standard type in Python - (2016-11-02)
  [4719] Nesting decorators - (2016-11-02)

Q907 - Object Orientation and General technical topics - Object Orientation: Design Techniques
  [80] OO - real benefits - (2004-10-09)
  [236] Tapping in on resources - (2005-03-05)
  [507] Introduction to Object Oriented Programming - (2005-11-27)
  [534] Design - one name, one action - (2005-12-19)
  [747] The Fag Packet Design Methodology - (2006-06-06)
  [836] Build on what you already have with OO - (2006-08-17)
  [1047] Maintainable code - some positive advice - (2007-01-21)
  [1224] Object Relation Mapping (ORM) - (2007-06-09)
  [1435] Object Oriented Programming in Perl - Course - (2007-11-18)
  [1528] Object Oriented Tcl - (2008-02-02)
  [1538] Teaching Object Oriented Java with Students and Ice Cream - (2008-02-12)
  [2169] When should I use OO techniques? - (2009-05-11)
  [2170] Designing a heirarcy of classes - getting inheritance right - (2009-05-11)
  [2327] Planning! - (2009-08-08)
  [2380] Object Oriented programming - a practical design example - (2009-08-27)
  [2501] Simples - (2009-11-12)
  [2523] Plan your application before you start - (2009-12-02)
  [2741] What is a factory? - (2010-04-26)
  [2747] Containment, Associative Objects, Inheritance, packages and modules - (2010-04-30)
  [2865] Relationships between Java classes - inheritance, packaging and others - (2010-07-10)
  [2878] Program for reliability and efficiency - do not duplicate, but rather share and re-use - (2010-07-19)
  [2953] Turning an exercise into the real thing with extreme programming - (2010-09-11)
  [2977] What is a factory method and why use one? - Example in Ruby - (2010-09-30)
  [3063] Comments in and on Perl - a case for extreme OO programming - (2010-11-21)
  [3085] Object Oriented Programming for Structured Programmers - conversion training - (2010-12-14)
  [3260] Ruby - a training example that puts many language elements together to demonstrate the whole - (2011-04-23)
  [3454] Your PHP website - how to factor and refactor to reduce growing pains - (2011-09-24)
  [3607] Designing your application - using UML techniques - (2012-02-11)
  [3760] Why you should use objects even for short data manipulation programs in Ruby - (2012-06-10)
  [3763] Spike solutions and refactoring - a Python example - (2012-06-13)
  [3798] When you should use Object Orientation even in a short program - Python example - (2012-07-06)
  [3844] Rooms ready for guests - each time, every time, thanks to good system design - (2012-08-20)
  [3878] From Structured to Object Oriented Programming. - (2012-10-02)
  [3928] Storing your intermediate data - what format should you you choose? - (2012-11-20)
  [3978] Teaching OO - how to avoid lots of window switching early on - (2013-01-17)
  [4098] Using object orientation for non-physical objects - (2013-05-22)
  [4374] Test driven development, and class design, from first principles (using C++) - (2014-12-30)
  [4430] The spirit of Java - delegating to classes - (2015-02-18)
  [4628] Associative objects - one object within another. - (2016-01-20)

P218 - Perl - More Objects
  [227] Bellringing and Programming and Objects and Perl - (2005-02-25)
  [246] When to bless a Perl variable - (2005-03-15)
  [531] Packages in packages in Perl - (2005-12-16)
  [588] Changing @INC - where Perl loads its modules - (2006-02-02)
  [592] NOT Gone phishing - (2006-02-05)
  [930] -> , >= and => in Perl - (2006-11-18)
  [1320] Perl for Larger Projects - Object Oriented Perl - (2007-08-25)
  [1664] Example of OO in Perl - (2008-06-03)
  [1665] Factory method example - Perl - (2008-06-04)
  [1949] Nuclear Physics comes to our web site - (2008-12-17)
  [2427] Operator overloading - redefining addition and other Perl tricks - (2009-09-27)
  [2651] Calculation within objects - early, last minute, or cached? - (2010-02-26)
  [2811] Igloos melt in the summer, but houses do not - (2010-06-15)
  [2876] Different perl examples - some corners I rarely explore - (2010-07-18)
  [2972] Some more advanced Perl examples from a recent course - (2010-09-27)
  [3097] Making Perl class definitions more conventional and shorter - (2010-12-20)
  [3098] Learning Object Orientation in Perl through bananas and perhaps Moose - (2010-12-21)
  [3377] What do I mean when I add things in Perl? - (2011-08-02)
  [3581] Perl - calls to methods that use => - what do they mean? - (2012-01-16)
  [3941] Building an object based on another object in Perl - (2012-12-03)
  [4096] Perl design patterns example - (2013-05-20)

J710 - Java - Extending Classes and More
  [1066] Final, Finally and Finalize - three special words in Java - (2007-02-05)
  [1294] An example of Java Inheritance from scratch - (2007-08-00)
  [1501] Java - using super to call a method in the parent class - (2008-01-10)
  [1556] Java - a demonstration of inheritance on just one page - (2008-02-26)
  [2185] Abstract Classes - Java - (2009-05-16)
  [2434] Abstract classes, Interfaces, PHP and Java - (2009-10-03)
  [2604] Tips for writing a test program (Ruby / Python / Java) - (2010-01-29)
  [2860] What methods are available on this Java object? - (2010-07-08)
  [3047] What is a universal superclass? Java / Perl / Python / Other OO languages - (2010-11-13)
  [4334] Splitting out code into name blocks for clarity and reusability - (2014-11-30)
  [4394] Philosophy behind object design - and how I applied in to a Java example - (2015-01-14)
  [4419] Java Inheritance example - group of classes - step by step - (2015-02-08)
  [4422] Objects - from physical to virtual or abstract - Java - (2015-02-10)

C234 - C and C based languages - Further C++ Object Oriented features
  [801] Simple polymorphism example - C++ - (2006-07-14)
  [802] undefined reference to typeinfo - C++ error message - (2006-07-15)
  [1159] It can take more that one plus one to get two. - (2007-04-22)
  [2004] Variable Scope in C++ - (2009-01-22)
  [2005] Variables and pointers and references - C and C++ - (2009-01-23)
  [2576] What does const mean? C and C++ - (2010-01-15)
  [2673] Multiple Inheritance in C++ - a complete example - (2010-03-12)
  [2849] What are C++ references? Why use them? - (2010-07-02)
  [3057] Lots of things to do with and within a C++ class - (2010-11-16)
  [3069] Strings, Garbage Collection and Variable Scope in C++ - (2010-11-25)
  [3124] C++ - putting the language elements together into a program - (2011-01-08)
  [3238] Bradshaw, Ben and Bill. And some C and C++ pointers and references too. - (2011-04-09)
  [3430] Sigils - the characters on the start of variable names in Perl, Ruby and Fortran - (2011-09-10)
  [3509] Operator Overloading, Exceptions, Pointers, References and Templates in C++ - new examples from our courses - (2011-11-06)
  [3982] Using a vector within an object - C++ - (2013-01-19)
  [4377] Designing a base class and subclasses, and their extension, in C++ - (2015-01-01)
  [4559] When do I use the this keyword in C++? - (2015-10-29)

C233 - C and C based languages - OO in C++ - beyond the basics
  [798] References and Pointers in C++ - (2006-07-10)
  [925] C++ - just beyond the basics. More you can do - (2006-11-14)
  [1572] C - structs and unions, C++ classes and polymorphism - (2008-03-13)
  [1674] What a lot of files! (C++ / Polymorphism demo) - (2008-06-12)
  [2577] Complete teaching example - C++, inheritance, polymorphism - (2010-01-15)
  [2845] Objects and Inheritance in C++ - an easy start - (2010-07-01)
  [3056] C++ - a complete example with polymorphism, and how to split it into project files - (2010-11-16)
  [3123] C++ objects - some short, single file demonstrations - (2011-01-07)
  [3142] Private and Public - and things between - (2011-01-22)
  [3244] C and C++ - preprocess, compile, load, run - what each step is for - (2011-04-12)
  [3251] C++ - objects that are based on other objects, saving coding and adding robustness - (2011-04-17)
  [3508] Destructor methods in C++ - a primer - (2011-11-05)
  [3811] Associated Classes - using objects of one class within another - (2012-07-21)
  [3979] Extended and Associated objects - what is the difference - C++ example - (2013-01-18)
  [4375] Final examples for 2014 - and a look at our 2015 training course options - (2014-12-31)
  [4560] Variables, Pointers and References - C and C++ - (2015-10-29)


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