The Success of OOP

The Success of OOP

Allen Wirfs-Brock gave the following defense of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) sometime ago in a series of posts :

A young developer approached me after a conf talk and said, “You must feel really bad about the failure of object-oriented programming.” I was confused. I said, “What do you mean that object-orient programming was a failure. Why do you think that?”

He said, “OOP was supposed to fix all of our software engineering problems and it clearly hasn’t. Building software today is just as hard as it was before OOP came along.”

“Have you ever look at the programs we were building in the early 1980s? At how limited their functionality and UIs were? OOP has been an incredible success. It enabled us to manage complexity as we grew from 100KB applications to today’s 100MB applications.”

Of course OOP hasn’t solved all software engineering problems. Neither has anything else. But OOP has been enormously successful in allowing ordinary programmers to write much larger applications. It has become so pervasive that few programmers consciously think about it; it’s simply how you write software.

You can make fun at the excesses of OOP and expressing moderate enthusiasm for functional programming, but you should appreciate OOP. Functional programming will influence object oriented programming, but not replace it.

You can learn more object oriented programming in our courses Object Orientation and Object Oriented Analysis and Design.