Values and Objects in Programming Languages
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The terms value-oriented and object-oriented are used to describe both programming languages and programming styles. This paper attempts to elucidate the differences between values and objects and argues that their proper discrimination can be a valuable aid to conquering program complexity. The first section shows that values amount to timeless abstractions for which the concepts of updating, sharing and instantiation have no meaning. The second section shows that objects exist in time and, hence, can be created, destroyed, copied, shared and updated. The third section argues that proper discrimination of these concepts in programming languages will clarify problems such as the role of state in functional programming. The paper concludes by discussing the use of the value/object distinction as a tool for program organization.
The article of record as published may be found at http://apps.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA101322
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