Thursday, April 06, 2006

On 10 Things Jim Mischel Hates About C#

The other day a read Jim Mischel expound on the 10 things he hates about C#. I was a bit disappointed because most of the things he didn't like about C# he wouldn't like about C or any of its decendants. I think he missed all the meat. Take a look here before I add my two cents worth.

Jim's Top Ten

1. No Anonymous Inner Classes

Anyone who says they don't like the syntax of anonymous inner classes misses the point of C-like languages. That is, minimizing the amount of text minimizes the amount of errors and using common idioms eliminates common errors. No anonymous inner classes ensure that there is always a large amount of boilerplate infrastructure to hack up everytime you ever want to implement a class that will only ever be created in one place (does IEnumerable and IEnumerator mean anything to you). I hate creating private named IEnumerables when I could easily do the same thing with an anonymous class. The syntax might be something pascal programmers are not use to, but we are after all highly paid programmers. Besides, putting the code right beside where it is used rather than in some dusty corner *always* makes it easier to maintain. I can not see why anyone would prefer not to use anaymous inner classes at every opportunity... must be a hold over from our BASIC days.

2. Interfaces Can't have Inner Objects

How many times do you implement an exception that is only thrown by an interface method, or an enum that is only used in an interface. Why can not these be inner classes and enums on the interface itself. This allows the internals to be encapsulated within the interface and it reduces namespace pollution by seldom used items.

3. Enums aren't Objects

Enums can not have any body. But this is not the way they are used. Enums often have services they have to perform, like showing as a translated string, saving themselves in a persistence framework or just display themselves in the UI (as a drop down menu for example). These are real needs (google whack "enum C# ToString" and you will see what I mean). Enums should not be just a short list of ints. In an object oriented language they should be full class objects.

4. I Don't Like Delegates (and I like Events even less).

The syntax of delagates still confuses me, their place in the object hierachy confuses me (e.g. what is "this" when you are in a delegate method). I don't think there is a need for a function wrapper in an object oriented language. An no, there is nothing object-oriented about a delegate.
I can say the same for events, except the syntax is even worse and more confusing. How can this:

button.Click -= new Event (myEvent);

remove an event listener when I just created a new delegate. I think the entire event system in .NET was made so that the people who implemented VisualStudio had an easier time (and to hell with the people who have to use the generated code).

I don't think I have to go to 10. I am disapointed Jim just came up with the same "don't like C conditionals" ... blah, blah, blah. C is about minimizing typing, using standard implementation idioms and putting the code near to where the action is taking place. I think if you don't like these ideas, then, effectively, you won't like C or any of its decendants (no sweat). Having said that, there is lots of things about C# that we don't have to like (assuming we like C). I listed a few. I think if you have not felt the same need, you aren't really trying. Almost every day I code C# I miss anonymous inner classes and inner classes on interfaces.

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