Wednesday 19 March 2008

What's going on here then?

I remember when I first heard about Object Orientated programming. At the time I tinkered around with BASIC programming and felt pretty smug because I knew that goto was considered harmful. This was back in the dark ages when the World Wide Web was still being woven and Bulletin Board Services were all the rage. For the poor folk without a modem there were Public Domain libraries. I used to browse through the catalogue of APDL (the Archimedes Public Domain Library - yes, it's still going today!), and every so often, I'd save up enough pocket money to order a few floppy disks worth of software.

It was in that catalogue that I discovered a tutorial on C++ and Object Orientated programming (supplied, no expense spared, in text files). It sounded so exotic. It conjured up in my mind thoughts about just clicking things together. I remember babbling on to my brother (who was not in the least interested - but I had to tell someone) that it was all about objects passing messages to each other using this magic "->" symbol and doing something called polymorphism. And then there was inheritance. Maybe I would get rich!

I feel some of the same excitement now that I've heard about functional programming. People are flashing around the same magic symbols, only they've moved on from one bar to two: "->" has evolved into "=>". And there's a new spell book of magic words: "Lambda functions", "Monads", and "Memoization", not forgetting "Y Combinators", "Closures" and "Tail Recursion".

I'm now a little more battle-hardened; and we've been warned that there's no magic silver bullet that will slay all our problems. But so many of those in the know are claiming great things for Functional programming in C# that I feel I can't be left behind.

I've been told that the best way to learn is to teach (which does make me wonder about some of my teachers at school). And I think I've discovered the perfect source of examples.

I'll tell you all about it next time.


An Phu said...

Clojure is my mistress.

Anonymous said...

well done this a great help

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