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Reference details

Author(s) Year Title Reference View/Download

Les Hatton

1998

Does OO sync with the way we think ?

IEEE Software, 15(3), p.46-54OO_IS698.pdf

Synopsis and invited feedback

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Synopsis Invited Feedback Importance (/10, author rated :-) )
This paper argues from substantial real data that OO based systems written in C++ appear to increase the cost of fixing defects significantly when compared with systems written in either C or Pascal. The fact that C++ is built on C suggests that the OO features themselves are at least partly responsible rather than simply blaming it on its C ancestry. As a result, it goes on to suggest that at least some aspects of OO, for example inheritance, which appears to be a defect attractor, is an unsafe mechanism in terms of how we think about software systems. It certainly would not come as a surprise to any geneticist that we can inherit mistakes.I should note that this paper had an unusually turbulent review period because it criticised OO. 2 reviewers said they would cut their throats if it was published and 3 said the opposite. The paper was only published on condition that the OO community could publish a rebuttal. I found this very amusing as my paper contains significant data. The rebuttal had none. This sort of thing is normal in software engineering which mostly operates in a measurement-free zone. I even had one particular OO supporter claim that my experiments were 'uncontrolled' in spite of the fact that a) the details were all published and b) they had never done any. Ultimately we all lose by this level of ignorance and I do wish we would rely more on trying to nail down important facets of software development and not just talk unquantifiable bollocks all the time. but maybe I'm being too idealistic.9

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