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(OT) OOUI: multiple views in an object.

by BUU (Prior)
on Oct 31, 2003 at 09:56 UTC ( #303514=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

I just read the following article by Allen Holub, Building user interfaces for object-oriented systems, Part 1 where he talks about designing an OOUI: object oriented user interface. In it he espouses the idea that the MVC paradigm is fundamentally broken, atleast in an OO manner, because the view needs tight coupling to the model. ( Forgive me if I have these terms backwards, I'm not all that sure which part is which ).

Basically he argues that if the view needs to get say, the 'name' attribute from the object, it knows to much about the object. Instead you should have all the display details hidden with in the object and simply ask the object to do things for you, in other words, instead of saying 'give me the name, salary and age so I can display them' you just say 'display the name salaray and age'.

While this idea sounds nice and encapuslated to my mind, after reading it I was immeadiately struck with the problem "What about multiple views"? What if your object needs to be displayed as sound for blind people as well as text for non blind people? Do you code the intimate details of how to display sound AND text in every single object you create? A simple 'display as text' or 'display as sound' which takes a string or something would seem to be much simpler. But this violates the fundamentals of object design, at least according to the article.

At the end of the article he seems to respond to this criticism with the following text:

Gripe #2. Different views into the same object
The other bugaboo that I want to put to death is the notion of different views into the same object, usually characterized by the question: "Suppose you need to display this data as a pie chart over here and a grid over there? How can you do this if the object displays itself?"

Now let's get real. How often in your work has this problem actually come up? In talking about object-oriented architectures for the user interface to many hundreds, if not thousands, of programmers, only two or three have ever raised their hands when I asked that question. If I need a generic presentation program that has no notion of what the data means, I'll go buy a copy of Excel or Quattro Pro. I won't write a program. The fact is that data has meaning -- it's not just an arbitrary collection of numbers. For a given set of data, I would argue that that there is only one "best" way to represent it for a specific problem domain. If there's no "best" way, then just settle on one "good" way. This degree of flexibility is rarely required. In any event, it is possible for an object to display itself in different ways without violating its integrity. I'll talk about how to do just that in a forthcoming column.




It seems to be that he's arguing multiple views aren't necessary because nobody ever uses them? But in my example above it was trivial to think of two different views that may be critical to an applicaton (for whatever reason) and I'm sure anyone could easily think of a few more that might be needed. So my question/meditation on this is: Do you agree with what he's saying? Have you found in your work that most of the time objects only need to display themselves in one way? Of course maybe this is a case of 'specific strategies for specific situations' but he seems to be arguing that this model is appropiate for all development.

Edit by castaway: Marked 'OT'.

Comment on (OT) OOUI: multiple views in an object.
Re: OOUI: multiple views in an object.
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Oct 31, 2003 at 11:41 UTC

    Having just finished reading the very same article, I had almost exactly the same reaction.

    There is a solution, though it's not one that would likely be espoused in an article for JavaWorld:). The answer, to my way of thinking, is HTML, or rather XHTML + stylesheets.

    Stylesheets are about the most advanced presentation layer that I know of in terms of their ability to abstract the presentation of information in multiple formats. The audio-abstraction for blind users is there, though I think there are few, if any, implementations around yet. It is also theoretically possible for a table to be converted to a historgram or pie chart (assuming the table contents are transmutable).

    Once objects display themselves, in terms of XHTML+stylesheets, the average browser can be used as a UI, which, with some obvious limitations, makes the apps usable from almost anywhere, even via text-only, or audio-only browsers. If the 'command line' facilities within the browsers where improved to include history, local scripting facilities etc., it could be quite a usable system even for those with sufferiing Musophobia:)


    As an aside. Opera (and probably others) has a facility for maximising a particular frame on a framed html page. I find this invaluable when you encounter one of those sites that insist upon taking up half the screen with a header, footer and sidebar frames and forcing me to read long articles by scrolling in the small space left over.

    It just struck me that it would be a really nice feature if when using a multi line edit field (like the one I'm typing in) if I could hit a key sequence that would expand it to fill the screen. If the browser was already in full screen mode, this would be almost the same as using a full screen CLI. Add the ability to shell commands to the OS and it could be even better.

    Then again, an alternative would be to have a key sequence that invoked my favorite editor, allowed me to type my data into tha and the retieved it and posted it into the textarea?

    Note. I would only want the above facility if it could ONLY be used from the keyboard, and not from any form of active scripting from the server side.


    Examine what is said, not who speaks.
    "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
    "Think for yourself!" - Abigail
    Hooray!

      Then again, an alternative would be to have a key sequence that invoked my favorite editor, allowed me to type my data into tha and the retieved it and posted it into the textarea?

      Here you go.

      ----
      I wanted to explore how Perl's closures can be manipulated, and ended up creating an object system by accident.
      -- Schemer

      : () { :|:& };:

      Note: All code is untested, unless otherwise stated

        And of course, lynx. That's nice too. I post with emacs when I'm on a console.
        Very cool(++). I used it to post this reply.

        The only pitfall is that it defaults to emacs ;-)

        One small note - I didn't find the keystroke to run the editor documented anywhere. If anyone else tries this extension, Ctrl+E opens your preferred editor.

        That, plus a few other things on the same page make me seriously consider re-evaluating moz. The last time I tried it, it was frankly aweful, but that was a long time ago.

        Out of interest - what is the difference between Moz and Firebird?


        Examine what is said, not who speaks.
        "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
        "Think for yourself!" - Abigail
        Hooray!
        Wanted!

      It just struck me that it would be a really nice feature if when using a multi line edit field (like the one I'm typing in) if I could hit a key sequence that would expand it to fill the screen.

      OmniWeb has had this feature for a while now: Each multiline text field has a little box that you can click to open up a dedicated editor window that you can resize at will.

Re: (OT) OOUI: multiple views in an object.
by castaway (Parson) on Oct 31, 2003 at 11:53 UTC
    I've only just read the first page of the article, and already I'm starting to wonder if he isn't overdoing it a little in the 'object purity' department.

    Not that I don't see what he's getting at, but it doesn't really apply to the real world (and that of programming). For example, he says that get and set methods are evil. That would mean to me that objects aren't reusable in his world.

    Take for example a coffee machine object (this is how a former colleague explained OO to a PHB, worked quite well :) - The coffee machine needs data input, I need to set the value of its water container to full (ie fill it), the coffee, the type I want, etc. pp. If I can do this only once, when I create the object, then I can only create coffee until it's empty, and then I need a new machine.. (!?)

    I also have a separate object, a cup/mug/glass/whatever, into which I wish to put my coffee. What does the machine know about cups? Nothing! I should merely tell it to output the coffee, and let me deal with where it lands. A coffee machine shouldn't have to also produce cups, or whatever. (And theres another case in point, we have here coffee machines which output a plastic cup filled with coffee. Most people take a real cup, and tip the coffee into it, throwing away the plastic one. Thus creating unnecessary waste.)

    An object should do the job it was designed to do (manipulate data, whatever), and not 57 other vaguely related ones..

    (My Opinion)

    C.

    *Wondering how the article writer populates his objects, should go back and read the rest...*

      get and set methods are evil.

      There is some truth to this. I am not familiar with the article so I don't know Holub's perspective. (Update: I have read articles by Holub in the same vein.)

      The idea that an attribute should be indistinguishable, at the interface level, from equivalent fetch and set methods is extremely convenient in a language.

      class SAMPLE is data:INT is return something; end; data( param:SOMETYPE) is do_something( param) end; end
      is the same as
      class SAMPLE is attr data:INT; end
      To not use set and fetch methods is problematic in languages that do not have this feature when the interface of a class may change. Many languages require invasion of clients to change an attribute to a method. Programmers choose methods in defence against change.

      I suspect that Holub's complaint is that a lot of fetch and set methods are either being added thoughtlessly or show a poor object design abstraction. In some languages preserving a flexible interface is a strong counter-argument to the former. I agree with the latter but know there are exceptions, e.g. users wanting to "emulate" a paper trail.

      For your first point, my take on the article was that his preferred method for dealing with your coffee machine problem would be to just have a method that does what you need it to, say, $coffee_machine->refill(); Thus the specific implemenations of the coffee, how it needs to refill, etc etc are all hidden from the programmer. Other wise you would end up with something like:
      $cm->{temp}=150; $cm->{amount}=100; $cm->{heat_time}=5;
      And so on and so forth. Having just one method completely hides the implementation details of whatever you need to do. Otherwise you just have a datastructure, not an object.

      As to your second problem, in this case I would have three objects. A coffee machine object, a coffee object, and a cup object. Then you can have your coffee machine create new coffee objects and then add them to the cup object. Then you could change every single thing about coffee and cups and still be able to say
      my $cm=new Coffee_Machine; my $coffee=$cm->gimme_coffee(); my $cup=new Cup($coffee);
      And never, ever have to change those lines of code.
        Yup, I thought that's what he said too.. My point was more, how the hell does the coffee machine know how to refill itself? (Talking about a home-version, not an industrial version here, see below..)

        There are times when you want autonomous objects, and times when you want them just as parts of other apps..

        C.

      Take for example a coffee machine object {...} The coffee machine needs data input, I need to set the value of its water container to full (Ie. fill it), the coffee, the type I want, etc. pp. If I can do this only once, when I create the object, then I can only create coffee until it's empty, and then I need a new machine.. (!?)

      Here's one view of how to use OO-design, with no setters or getters, to construct a coffee machine program.

      The first thing is that in the real world, a coffee machine is not a component of a system -- it is the system. In a futuristic scenario, one might imagine many coffee machines being installed in a 'intelligent' or 'wired' office, but even then, they wouldn't be components of the Building object. There would be no way for the Building object to instantiate a new instance of the Coffee Machine Class on the third floor!

      They might be communications partners to the Building object. The Building object might contain instances of a Coffee Machine object, but these would be proxy objects who's purpose is to represent (and communicate with) the real Coffee Machines. Not be Coffee Machines or even control their operation.

      Instead of thinking of the Coffee Machine as an object to be instantiated within the application, the application is the Coffee Machine. There would be little point if having a Coffee Machine class and instantiating a single instance of it. The CM application is essentially a stand alone application, running on the real CM's cpu.

      What might it look like?

      It would need some way of communicating with the user in order to accept orders and report things like price, out-of-product, out-of-order etc. Dedicated lights illuminating separate panels for each output communication are the traditional way, but these are inflexible, unreliable mechanical devices which also tend to have a limited service life and are costly and difficult to replace, so most new CM's will use an LCD display screen. So we have a screen for output, but there may be environments in which a collection of neons beside labels, or bulbs illiminating panels or even audio tones would be preferable. Better to encapsulate the output device behind an abstraction and leave the detail on individual installations to deeper in the application.

      Overlay the LCD with a touch sensitive panel and we have a totally configurable input device, but equally, mechanical buttons, voice commands or braille input might be better in some places. Again, encapulate that detail.

      There will also be the possibility of needing to communicate with external entities besides the user. Send an email to a service dept. for a re-fill as an example. Or request mainenance. Why not wrap all external communications into an IO object.

      It also needs a set of hoppers -- coffee, sugar, milk (powder), (maybe cocoa, soups and whatever). From the point of view of the CM application, these are attributes, but the complexities of detecting whether they are empty, rotated into the correct position, dispensing the appropriate volumes are details that are best encapsulated in a Hopper object. The CM application. would instantiate one instance of Hopper object for each ingredient it can dispense.

      It also needs a source of hot water. This could be abstracted as a Hopper object, but it has enough differences to require it's own class. For instance. Where as a Hopper object needs external (manual) intervention to re-fill it when it runs low, the Water Object will generally refill automatically from the main. Whilst a Hopper object will need to vary the amount of ingredient it dispenses dependant upon the recipe, the Water object will often always dispense the same volume, or if it varies, it will be according to criteria input by the user (espresso versus latte or 7oz versus 10 oz etc.). The Water Object also has some extra attributes to concern itself with. Is the water hot enough (eg. first thing in the morning). So, a separate Water Class is probably called for .

      It also needs a set of recipes. How much of each ingredient should be dispensed to fulfil each formula. Essentially, this is a database. A set of pre-defined inputs derived from some external source.

      It also needs an Authorisation object. And no, I'm not suggesting that your boss should be contacted for his permission for you to have a drink:) This is about money, or something approximating to it. Some installations will require the appropriate amount of cash to be inserted (with or without change). Some will accept pre-purchased (or distributed) tokens. Some will take a credit card, whether the bank issued type, or company issued type. There are other possibilities too, but they can all be encapsulated by a simple Authorisation object that when asked if the transaction is authorised, replies Yes or No. If your lucky enough to work somewhere where the management are enlightened enough to consider the provision of beverages a perk of the job or simply a necessity of running a business, then the Authorisation object is just hard-wired to always say Yes.

      Okay. Assuming anyone came this far, what might the Coffee Machine application look like.

      Pseudo-code

      import IO; import Water; import Hopper; import Recipe; import Authorisation; import Exception; import Configuration. config = new Configuration or die 'No configuration'; except = new Exception( ) or die 'No exceptions'; # ;^) try (ex) { io = new IO( config ); Water = new WaterClass( config ); hoppers{} = new Hoppers( config ); auth = new Authorisation( config ); } else { except( ex ); } while( water.ready ) { selectedRecipe = io.displayList( recipes ); if( auth( selectedRecipe ) and IO.cupReady( timeout ) ) { try (ex) { hoppers{ ingredient }.dispense( quantity ) while (ingredient, quantity) = selectedRecipe.iterate; } else { IO.displayException( ex ); delete recipe{ $_ } for grep{ $_.uses( ex.missingIngredien +t ) @recipes; IO.requestReplenishment( ex.missingIngredient ); } } else { IO.displayStatus( 'Timeout: Try again' ); } }

      Imperfect

      I'm not saying that is a 'fully worked' example, but the basic premise of not getting attributes from one object and then setting them into another is kind of there. Instead of querying a list of hoppers available in this machine from the config and then instantiated an instance of Hopper for each, you pass the config to the Hopper constructor and it queries the config object for whatever information it needs to construct and pass back a collection of hoppers.

      Instead of querying the description text from each of the recipes, formatting them and printing them on the display, you pass the collection of recipes to the IO object and ask it to display them as a list.

      When the IO object is instantiated, it gets passed the config object from which it gets told that it needs to allocate an area of the screen to display the list. It also might be told by that configuration to reserve an area for exception messages. It could also be told to display the time, location, machine number or whatever. When, at the top of the loop, the collection of recipes is passed to the displayList method, it queries each object in the collection for it's display string. This might be the description of the beverage, and the price. The IO object doesn't care, it just adds each one to the list.

      The list object knows what portion of the screen it must display itself in, and it formats the display strings accordingly. This might be a drop-down list, a scrolling region of bulleted items, a table. It doesn't matter to either the Coffee Machine application, nor the recipe objects. The IO object, (and it's constituent screen object) take care of the details. The IO object just returns which ever object gave it the display token that the user selects.

      An analogy

      The difference between procedurally programming objects, and programming using objects may be likened to two ways you could get your car serviced. (Was that a groan I heard?:) You could take your car to the service centre, pull out your phone, call the manufacturer, have the manufacturer read the instructions to you step by step, relay each instruction to the mechanic, have him hand you back the part he's just taken off, describe the condition to the manufacturer, have him decide whether to replace it, and then instruct the mechanic to re-fit or replace the part.

      The other way is that you park the car in the service centre car park, hand in the keys and tell them to service it. When they have done so, they hand you back the keys, augmented with a bill. Job done.

      Okay. It's a crude and exaggerated analogy, but in OO terms, you give the Service Centre object, the Car object, along with an authorisation token and a message saying "Service it".

      In essence, you should never need to query an attribute from one object to give it to another, much less query the attribute, pass it to another, retrieve the response (or modified attribute) and return it to the originating object. You pass the originating object to the other object along with a message telling it what you want done. The two objects take care of the details, while you sit and wait for the result -- either the conformation of success or an exception object that you then choose how to handle.

      Purist?

      If all that sounds "purist", maybe it is, but it's no more or less purist that advocating that people not use global variables, gotos or rely on side effects in structured procedural code.

      A hope

      Is it the way I want to program? I'm not sure yet. I have still to see a language that allows me to write well-defined 'pure' OO code without requiring me to spend as much if not more of my time concerning myself with the mechanisms of the OO process model, than I do coding the task at hand. I'm hoping for good things from P6, given what I've seen so far, both of the detail and the care and thought that is going into that detail, I think it bodes well.

      Whilst in some ways P6 seems to be giving me access to a lower level, but this is always optional, and looks like it will give me a better level of control in the guts of the machine, where it is required. By carefully crafting the innards of a module or library, using the ability to more accurately define the runtime implementation, it should be possible to construct them such, that once done, I will have no concerns about them being too inefficient or bloated. In that way, once those routines are written (well), I will be able to just use them at the higher level without concern that overall systems I construct will be unnecessarily slow or bloated.

      A prediction

      I predict that this access to some of the lower levels, combined with perl's existing attributes of allowing me to ignore many low-level details that cause so much trouble in other languages -- allocation and freeing of memory, pointers, systems dependencies and incompatibilities etc. -- whilst also giving me perl existing high level (and even higher level) language constructs and control mechanisms for manipulating instances of the low-level objects, means that for the first time, I foresee being able to implement efficient, re-usable objects and, thanks to perl's true polymorphism, being able to manipulate those low-level objects individually and collectively without needing to construct huge, unwieldy, class hierarchies that have a separate class for every single task on the planet.

      That is one, long, unwieldy sentence, but it's also one, long, unwieldy thought, so take breaths wherever seems appropriate.

      I await (without holding my breath), the next apocalypse with considerable interest.


      Examine what is said, not who speaks.
      "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
      "Think for yourself!" - Abigail
      Hooray!
      Wanted!

        Now thats a nice extension of my analogy!

        And it also leads me to some more thoughts on this.. What you have described seems to be the industrial type coffee machine like the big one standing in the kitchen at work, which is installed by a company, which gets hooked up to a water pipe, the electricty, etc. and refilled with cups, coffee by them, with no interaction from me (the user), whatsoever..

        My point is that the article seems to suggest that this is the only way to do it, at all. Suppose I also have a coffee machine at home. This is a much more simple affair, its not a complete-in-itself application, its just part of my kitchen, like the toaster or kettle, an object. We are still light-years away (says I), from the fully automated kitchen (or replicator), in which I just say 'make me a coffee', and it happens. In this situation I just have to get the jug, fill it from the tap, and fill the machine, etc.

        I think there's plenty of opportunity in the real programming world for complete applications-as-objects, but also for simple objects which can be included as parts of other things.

        To go back to the analogy: The part I was describing is more like your Authorisation object, which can (presumably), be used other machines as well (candy/sweet machine, anyone?). *This* object has to have some sort of in/ouput, even if its just an 'isOk', 'isNotOK'.. Am I making any sense here.. ?

        I'm all for not just using objects to hold data, but to actually manipulate that data and just say 'yes/no', but they still have to get the data from somewhere.. (Where's your 'User' Object? :)

        C.

      A coffee machine shouldn't have to also produce cups, or whatever.

      Beyond that, I would say the designer of a coffee machine should make as few assumptions about cups as possible.

      And I've got a case in point too. Recently, we got rid of one of those machines that outputs a little cup filled with coffee and replaced it with one where you insert your mug, stick a little packet in this slot, choose one of three "bodies" (espresso, regular, or choco) and the machine outputs the coffee directly to your cup. That would seem like an improvement right? Except that just the other day I found that my travel mug doesn't fit in the machine. Now, I can't even get the output in a little cup and pour it into my travel mug.

      Wasteful or not, with the old machine I got my coffee. Now, it's true that in the real world, where you find coffee machines and the addicts who frequent them, it is arguably more important to do away with waste than it is for every caffeine junkie to get his coffee. But, in the world of software, a working coffee machine object that was a little wasteful would likely trump a super-efficient one with a bug such that, under certain conditions, it would not allow you to fill your cup object.

      -sauoq
      "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
      
Re: (OT) OOUI: multiple views in an object.
by perrin (Chancellor) on Oct 31, 2003 at 13:46 UTC
    Ridiculous. I hope this guy enjoys the fantasy world he is living in.

    If you use accessor methods to pull all the data out of an object, manipulate it, and then put it back in, then you are doing something wrong. Using them to ask for a property so you can display it is totally fine.

    Think about a typical situation with a web UI. With his approach you would stick a bunch of HTML in your object (or, possibly even less practical, invent your own layout system on top of HTML). You can't just ask the object to draw itself for input or draw itself for display, because on screen A it is supposed to be in 2 columns and pink, while on screen B they only want to show part of the object's data and it has to be lime green. Web UIs are full of the "multiple views" problem. A simple view layer, like a templating system with a little glue code, solves this problem.

    If you want to know how far you will get with the approach he is advocating here, imagine telling your web designer that you can't get the exact layout she designed in Dreamweaver because the objects you designed have to be allowed to do their own rendering.

    Look at his arguments against MVC:

    In the simple example above, you're tasked with adding an employee ID to every name in every screen that displays employee names. In the RAD-style architecture, you'll have to modify every one of these screens by hand, modifying or adding widgets to accomodate the new ID field.

    Doing it his way, you will have no precise control over what the ID field looks like within a screen, and won't be able to do it differently on different screens.

    You'll also have to add facilities to the Employee class to be able to set the ID.

    If I'm using something like Class::DBI, it will already see that I added this field in the database and automatically create accessors.

    And you'll have to examine every class that uses an Employee to ensure that the ID hasn't broken anything.

    I'll run my test scripts. He will have to examine every place in the application that this thing shows up to make sure it doesn't look like hell.

    For example, comparison of two Employee objects to see if they're equal must now use the ID, so you now have to modify all this code. If you had simply encapsulated the identity into a Name class, none of this work would be necessary. The Name objects would simply display themselves in the new way. Two Name objects would now compare themselves using the ID information; your code that called fred.compareTo(ginger) or fred.equals(ginger) wouldn't have to change at all.

    Now he's talking as if MVC meant we don't have classes. Of course we have classes with MVC, and of course we can compare them without asking for all the data through accessors. And I won't bother to comment on the stuff about code generation, since the kind of code generation we use (AUTOLOADS, evals) is done when the program is run.

    I could attack the rest of his examples (the ATM thing is also very silly), but I'm sure you get the idea.

Re: (OT) OOUI: multiple views in an object.
by hardburn (Abbot) on Oct 31, 2003 at 16:29 UTC

    Never ask an object for the information you need to do something; rather, ask the object that has the information to do the work for you.

    So Class::DBI isn't OO? Darn.

    All objects must provide their own UI.

    Dear Lord. Whatever happend to seperating the display from the implementation?

    I've always gotten the feeling that, for having such a huge impression on modern programming, OO is really poorly defined (thus all the flame wars about "Language X is OO vs. No it isn't"). If you ask a CS major or look it up in a book, you'll usually get some metaphor about animals, and how you can do certain things to all animals, and you can do more things to specific kinds of animals, etc. However, I've been completely unsatisifed with this metaphor (and other common metaphors in various reference materials) as it doesn't really say what OO means for programming.

    This is the first article I've read that has, finally, given a decent definition of OO. And if this is what OO is, I don't want any part of it.

    ----
    I wanted to explore how Perl's closures can be manipulated, and ended up creating an object system by accident.
    -- Schemer

    : () { :|:& };:

    Note: All code is untested, unless otherwise stated

      Dear Lord. Whatever happend to seperating the display from the implementation?
      If you read further, and go on to the follow-up articles, you'll find that all is not as it might appear to such a shallow glance.
      This is the first article I've read that has, finally, given a decent definition of OO. And if this is what OO is, I don't want any part of it.
      How about trying not to have too much of a knee jerk reaction to something you admittedly know so little about.

        If you read further, and go on to the follow-up articles, you'll find that all is not as it might appear to such a shallow glance.

        Really?

        4. The Teller object asks the Bank_records object for an empty Withdrawal_slip. (This object will be an instance of some class that implements the Withdrawal_slip interface, and will be passed from the Bank_records object to the Teller object by value (using RMI). That's important. All the Teller knows about the object is the interface it implements -- the implementation (the class file) comes across the wire along with the object itself, so the Teller has no way of determining how the object will actually process the messages sent to it. This abstraction is a good thing because it lets us change the way the Withdrawal_slip object works without having to change the Teller definition.) 5. The Teller object tells the Withdrawal_slip object to display a user interface. (The object complies by rendering a UI on the ATM screen using AWT.)

        Looks like not seperating display and implementation to me. The Withdrawl_slip object is working directly with the UI. I don't see any way to interpret the above differently.

        How about trying not to have too much of a knee jerk reaction to something you admittedly know so little about.

        Then please, enlighten me: What is OO? Don't use metaphors--I've read way too many of them, all of them unsatisfying.

        Saying traditional OO concepts (like accessors/mutators) aren't OO doesn't strike me as a useful definition.

        ----
        I wanted to explore how Perl's closures can be manipulated, and ended up creating an object system by accident.
        -- Schemer

        : () { :|:& };:

        Note: All code is untested, unless otherwise stated

Re: (OT) OOUI: multiple views in an object.
by dpuu (Chaplain) on Oct 31, 2003 at 18:39 UTC
    This feels like the form of false-laziness that is characterized in the RDBMS world as an unwillingless to create index tables. An index table sits on a Many:Many association, and describes how pairs of objects interact.

    In the case of the Employee Vs Display association, it doesn't take much to see that this is Many:Many. There are many kinds of employee, and many kinds of display. To normalise the model you need an index table. Apply the same concept to the OO world, and you get an "associative object" that, for example, knows how to display an Exempt_Employee record on a Monochrome_PDA_Display.

    Of course, when both peer objects have a class hierarchy, then the associative object's class hierarchy can get interesting (pairing all the leaves can get tedious). Fortunately, Perl doesn't require us to specify every last detail of this in the type system.

    --Dave.

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