Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Theory of Classification.

Andrew Newman came across this set of articles on OO theory. I stumbled across them about a year ago, read the first few, changed jobs, and promptly forgot to go find them again. I remember them as well worth the time to read.

This is the first article in a regular series on object-oriented type theory, aimed specifically at non-theoreticians. The object-oriented notion of classification has for long been a fascinating issue for type theory, chiefly because no other programming paradigm has so sought to establish systematic sets of relationships between all of its types. Over the series, we shall seek to find answers to questions such as: What is the difference between a type and a class? What do we mean by the the notion of plug-in compatibility? What is the difference between subtyping and subclassing? Can we explain inheritance, method combination and template instantiation? Along the way, we shall survey a number of different historical approaches, such as subtyping, F-bounds, matching and state machines and seek to show how these models explain the differences in the behaviour of popular object-oriented languages such as Java, C++, Smalltalk and Eiffel. The series is titled "The Theory of Classification", because we believe that all of these concepts can be united in a single theoretical model, demonstrating that the object-oriented notion of class is a first-class mathematical concept!
Anyway, the links:
"The Theory of Classification"
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15.

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