Coding Horror

programming and human factors

Why Objects Suck, Revisited

I recently blogged about how pure object oriented programming is oversold. Well, evidently Paul Graham agrees with me:

Object-oriented programming generates a lot of what looks like work. Back in the days of fanfold, there was a type of programmer who would only put five or ten lines of code on a page, preceded by twenty lines of elaborately formatted comments. Object-oriented programming is like crack for these people: it lets you incorporate all this scaffolding right into your source code. Something that a Lisp hacker might handle by pushing a symbol onto a list becomes a whole file of classes and methods. So it is a good tool if you want to convince yourself, or someone else, that you are doing a lot of work.
I've found that a little object orientation goes a long way. Pushing too far into "everything must be an object" territory leads to, well, exactly what Paul describes above-- giant masses of repetitive code that someone is going to have to maintain. I like to err on the side of simplicity, and that typically means the approach that produces the least volume of source code.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Exchange and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: