Don’t Fear the OOP

One of my biggest hurdles I have come across since taking on Java is really getting my head wrapped around the OOP (object oriented programming) idea. Most of my previous experience wtih visual basic and php was procedural programming. Because of this, my mind is stuck thinking in those terms.

All the e-books I have been going over describe OOP as something that “should” be easy to grasp. A class is a classification of an object. An object is a noun, like a dog, that can be described attributes or fields: four legs, two ears, two eyes, brown, tail, etc. A method is how that dog interacts with other objects: playFetch(), catchFrisbee(), peeOnLeg(), etc.

Okay, so that seems pretty simple. I get these things. However, I don’t see how the hell I can relate that methodology to creating an application for LDAP or even a simple calcualtor for Marine Corps Cutting Scores (the score that gets us promoted).

Luckily, the internet has a plethora of information and I found it on a Stanford student’s website. Jos Claerbout wrote the paper back in 1999. It isn’t on the intricacies of Java. Since OOP is a method or style or paradigm of programming, it doesn’t change as much over time so the age of the document is less relevant than its style.

Mr. Claerbout’s paper is called Don’t fear the OOP. He uses a trashy western novel as his focus to describe OOP. Each idea is presented in “pretty” colors. If in green, the idea is discussed in terms any literate human could understand. If in yellow, it is a bit more programmatical but still not full fledged “programming talk”. And, if in red, it is all about the code. I can’t say I have ever read a paper that used these styles of teaching but it works. It has been a great reference to put me over that edge so I can get beyond the rut I’ve been stuck in.

The internet really is a great place…