57

There are beautiful answers to this question already here, and I will not try to reiterate any of the ground that has already been covered. However, something important that I have not seen here so far is that comparing OOP to FP is not actually terribly meaningful. It's a bit like comparing glass (the material) to tables (the furniture). They each have ...


44

Learning about references is important, but I don't feel that learning about pointers is that important for beginning Java students. Certainly intermediate students will need to understand them. When I started learning about pointers, I had a hard time grasping them at all until I learned assembly language. Once I learned assembly (for any processor), ...


43

I'm not as familiar with Python as I am with other languages, but I'm sure your students have played Minecraft. If you haven't, I suggest taking a few minutes to find some introductory "Lets Play" videos on YouTube first. Let's talk Blocks. Minecraft has dozens of blocks. Dirt, some, water, colored wool... All blocks can be broken, picked up, placed, ...


30

Here's an analogy that I've used for several years, and that students seem to understand. It doesn't focus on the rules, but why we have public and private and protected. "Most of you know that I live down at the beach. If you find yourself riding past my house, and it's hot outside, you might come to my front door, knock and ask if you could have a soda. I ...


29

For a beginning course: no. I have helped clarify behavior for fellow students who got lost by an instructor who explained things in terms of pointers. I have programmed in C, and most of my current programming is done in Rust; I understand pointers and what problems they are best suited to solve. But in Java, you don't have any access to pointers, so ...


16

Here I will discuss Functional Programming (FP) and Object Oriented Programming (OOP) in a fairly pure form. Actual languages, however often make compromises to allow older forms as well as multi-paradigm programming. Both FP and OOP rely in the notion of program "State" but do so in different ways. In fact there are really two different things that go by ...


16

Too many examples that you find are (IMO) fatally flawed. The Animal->Dog is especially flawed, though widely used. The problem is that these sorts of examples almost require that the superclass has a certain set of public methods that isn't the same as that of the subclass, requiring you to add additional public methods to the subclass. This is because an ...


15

No Because of the way that you learn, you think of them as fundamental, to the way references work. They are not. References do not have to work this way. [I would still agree that pointers are fundamental to understanding memory in Von Neumann / Harvard architecture.] Java uses references. You can think of these as being pointers, that must point to a ...


13

What my teachers used was the following example, which is pretty simple and most people understood. Your father orders a pizza. The delivery guy arrives and expects payment. The wallet containing the money belongs to the object father If the wallet is private, then you have to get your father to open it and pay. If the wallet is protected, you can go and ...


13

What is important is to teach students the difference between Java objects, and Java variables. There are thousands of questions on Stack Overflow asked by students and by junior developers who do not understand the difference. When we write Foobar f = new Foobar(...), it's much easier to say that f is a Foobar than it is to say that f holds a reference to ...


11

Ooh, this is one of my favorite lessons! I don't introduce package private and protected in the same lesson as private and public, because there are 3 principles that I want them to absorb that ultimately motivate the entire system. My lesson introduces a few more ideas than just permissions (it's really how I get started with Ojects), but the key ideas of ...


10

I've got to jump in here and talk about my experience having to help a former boss understand why the project he wanted to do wasn't possible in the time available. It came down to incompatible data types and he just couldn't see why I couldn't convert from one to the other (he wanted to do real-time motion capture using an XBox Kinect to animate a 3D mesh ...


10

A related (rhetorical) question: Should C students be taught the [machine language] idea of reusing a pointer as a CPU instruction if the value happens to line up? The speaker in a Functional Programming talk I recently saw discussed part of the history of programming languages, and the opinion seriously held by some at one time that assembly language was ...


10

I've got one that might help, modified/simplified from an actual problem I had to solve at my current job. Imagine you're writing a Content Management system - this system will store four types of documents (and the Meta/Index information for them) PDFs (who created, description, file size) Word documents (who created, description, file size) Pictures (who ...


9

As someone who learned to program with ruby, I think that the concept of how a reference to an object works under the hood is vital. Having the knowledge that "under the hood" my variables may be represented as pointers to values makes certain things much easier to understand. For example, in ruby: a = Object.new b = a.clone c = a c == b #=> false c == a ...


9

FP and OOP are both tools in the box, none of them is better or worse. The same way you would not ask whether to use a hammer or a screwdriver to put in a nail, you should not ask whether to use FP or OOP. The question should be: what is the best way to solve your problem at hand? OOP excels when you need to describe abstract objects with code (hence the ...


9

I wouldn’t expect to find a comparison table because OOP and FP are not mutually exclusive concepts. OOP is about encapsulating data in objects behind interfaces and using inheritance to build objects in re-usable pieces. FP, however, is about not changing states or having side-effects. You can have an OOP program with immutable objects. (You can clone an ...


9

There are already several good answers, but I'd like to add the following. Functional code is (at least in theory) more easily parallellized. This is important because we've about hit the limit of how fast we can run integrated circuits. (I know that's an oversimplification; I'm trying to keep it simple for the OP's audience's sake.) So, while you can't ...


8

From my software engineering experience. Some of it is useful some is not. It was put together by a committee of organisations that had a product to sell. (state machines got in there because a committee member had a state-machine editor.) A lot of other useful stuff was missed out. Take what is useful, leave the rest, and use stuff from elsewhere. ...


8

No, you don't need to talk about pointers in an introductory Java class. You should talk about references, but even then you should keep it at a very high level. The best tutorial on references I've seen is Cup Size -- a story about variables and its follow up Pass-by-Value Please. These talk about variables as cups that can hold different items, and ...


8

Ideally, interfaces come first. Before Classes. Interfaces define concepts. Classes implement those concepts. Don't think of them as an add-on to OO programming. Think of them as the essence. In fact, if you present a pre built class to students, my guess is that you already, probably informally, give the interface first. Here is a class with public ...


7

A good analogy might use animals and their classification. Class: think felines. A feline will purr, go out only at night, eat meat, etc. One could think of the methods purr, goOut:time, eat:food, where a valid feline will only accept a night time and food that is meat. Inheritance: meanwhile, felines are very different from each other, despite sharing ...


7

A benefit to OOP often overlooked is encapsulation. The object has data and methods (knows things and does things) that elements outside the object neither have access to, nor even know exists. Only the exposed elements (methods) can be used by other elements to get the expected results. (However that happens.) Build the lab around the "mystery" of an ...


7

The rules for abstract classes are the same as for other classes, with a few minor differences: An abstract class may have methods that do not have a body An abstract class has to be sub-classed, at some level, to a non-abstract class before you can instantiate an object It is not legal to directly instantiate an object of an abstract class With an ...


7

I think you're asking the wrong question. In my opinion the right questions are: Is it important to teach pointers at some point in the curriculum? If so, which courses in the curriculum are most suitable for teaching them? (Plural to cover cases where some of the courses are optional, or where students may not grasp the concept the first time and may need ...


7

This is a very broad question, so I'm going to point you to a couple places and then give a really short explanation. Wikipedia on paradigms: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programming_paradigm I'm linking to the main article, but linked at the bottom you should definitely check out the "Comparison" article as well as the specific sections and links to ...


7

My coding school gave one particular (weeks-long) project that I felt nailed the concept of inheritance, and why it could be useful: Simulating a circuit board with logic gates. The framework of the exercise can be adjusted, but here's a short example: A circuit board is composed of circuit inputs, logic gates and circuit outputs; each of these ...


6

This answer draws on Java examples. I start the interface discussion with a mechanical SATA hard drive in my hand. I discuss the interface called SATA and its universality across devices. I expand this with some digital images of SATA on an optical disc drive as well as a solid state hard drive. Some discussion follows regarding the variety of brands and ...


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