Explicitly considering subtyping in inheritance

By far the post on this blog that gains the most long-term interest and attention is why inheritance never made any sense. In this post, I explain that there are three different ways to think about inheritance—ontological inheritance (this sort of thing is a special type of that sort of thing), subtype inheritance (this program that expects these things will work with these things too), and implementation inheritance (the code in this thing is also in that thing)—and that trying to use all three at the same time is a recipe for disaster.

People interpret the message behind this as they will: that you should only ever compose objects, that you should only use pure functions, whatever. The message I tried to send was that you need to not use all of these different forms of inheritance at once, but OK. In this paper from the very early days of industry OOP, the late Bill Cook and colleagues resolve implementation and subtyping inheritance, by treating them differently (as I argued for).

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