Chapter6 - 6 Abstract data types This opened my mind, I...

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6 Abstract data types This opened my mind , I started to grasp what it means to use the tool known as algebra . I’ll be damned if anyone had ever told me before : over and again Mr . Dupuy [ the mathematics teacher ] was making pompous sentences on the subject , but not once would he say this simple word : it is a division of labor , which like any division of labor produces miracles , and allows the mind to concentrate all of its forces on just one side of objects , on just one of their qualities . What a difference it would have made for us if Mr . Dupuy had told us : This cheese is soft or it is hard ; it is white , it is blue ; it is old , it is young ; it is yours , it is mine , it is light or it is heavy . Of so many qualities let us consider only the weight . Whatever that weight may be , let us call it A . Now , without thinking of the weight any more , let us apply to A everything that we know of quantities . Such a simple thing ; yet no one was saying it to us in that faraway province Stendhal, The Life of Henry Brulard , 1836. For abstraction consists only in separating the perceptible qualities of bodies , either from other qualities , or from the bodies to which they apply . Errors arise when this separation is poorly done or wrongly applied : poorly done in philosophical questions , and wrongly applied in physical and mathematical questions . An almost sure way to err in philosophy is to fail to simplify enough the objects under study ; and an infallible way to obtain defective results in physics and mathematics is to view the objects as less composite than they are . Denis Diderot, A Letter on the Blind for the Benefit of Those Who Can See , 1749. L etting objects play the lead role in our software architectures requires that we describe them adequately. This chapter shows how. You are perhaps impatient to dive into the depths of object technology and explore the details of multiple inheritance, dynamic binding and other joys; then you may at first look at this chapter as an undue delay since it is mostly devoted to the study of some mathematical concepts (although all the mathematics involved is elementary). But in the same way that even the most gifted musician will benefit from learning a little music theory, knowing about abstract data types will help you understand and enjoy the practice of object-oriented analysis, design and programming, however attractive the concepts might already appear without the help of the theory. Since abstract data types
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ABSTRACT DATA TYPES § 6.1 122 establish the theoretical basis for the entire method, the consequences of the ideas introduced in this chapter will be felt throughout the rest of this book. There is more. As we will see at chapter end, these consequences actually extend beyond the study of software proper, yielding a few principles of intellectual investigation which one may perhaps apply to other disciplines.
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Chapter6 - 6 Abstract data types This opened my mind, I...

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