Anjana Vakil

Oops! OOP's Not What I Thought

In this talk we'll go on a historical and philosophical journey deep into the heart of darkness object-oriented programming (OOP). Come along with me as I have my world shaken by the discovery that objects and classes are not the most important concepts in OOP: messages and late binding are. Join me as we try to peek inside the heads of Alan Kay and the other founders of the paradigm as they were developing early object-oriented languages like Smalltalk, only to discover that those "old" ideas seem strikingly relevant today. We may even feel our jaws drop as we realize that OOP and functional programming are not as different as we may have thought, and that the first object-oriented language was not created in the 60's or 70's but much, much earlier…

What awaits us at the end of this journey? At worst, we'll experience a brief crisis of faith in everything we ever thought we knew about programming. (A support group will meet after the conference.) At best, we'll shift the way we view this near-ubiquitous but oft-misunderstood programming paradigm, and walk away with new insights for how we architect and understand our code.


Anjana Vakil suffers from a debilitating case of curiosity, which led her from philosophy to English teaching to speech technology to software development. Based in Berlin, she currently codes for ÜberResearch, and blogs about her programming adventures at Ask her about Mozilla, Outreachy, and the Recurse Center!

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