The Server-Side Pad

by Fabien Tiburce, Best practices and personal experiences with enterprise software

Plato’s Interfaces

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While in university, I and many or my classmates were fortunate to be exposed to some of the greatest texts by some of the greatest minds of western philosophy.   What continues to amaze me to this day is how often I draw on these (somewhat distant) formative years.  Take Pato’s forms for example.  Removed of matter, forms are pure, completely abstract and atemporal.  We understand and recognize the purpose of a table when we see one because we understand and recognize its abstract form, tableness.  Object oriented developers also understand the distinction between an object instance and its “essence”.  They call this essence, this form, an interface.  Software interfaces are essentially platonic forms, abstract, conceptual and devoid of  a physical implementation.  

Plato’s contribution to object oriented programming has never been fully recognized.  We wouldn’t have today’s advanced, declarative and abstract computer programs without the beautiful forms he discovered over 2,000 years ago.    I think credit is long overdue.


Written by Compliantia

March 20, 2009 at 1:29 am

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