Gripes with OOP

I use OO languages all the time, but find there are a common string of annoyances I have with them. Some of these are inherit to OOP itself, some of them how certain OO features are implemented in a certain language, and others are how OOP is used in a general sense.

Class Dogma

Some languages are multi-paradigm (C++, Python, etc), but some are strictly OOP [1]. What happens if you want a function in Java that adds 2 numbers? Sorry, that needs to go into a class.

Certain things don't (always) need to go in a class:

Pure functions have no side effects, and as long as they are properly named, shouldn't need to be tied to a class in any way.

Constants cannot change, and as such, should be able to be defined anywhere you please, so long as it makes sense.

Static classes are purely designed to hold static methods and nothing else. In C++/C#, a namespace could be used to group like things together, instead of a static class. They do the same thing, but one of them doesn't need to create a class to do so (even if it is just a single class). Take for instance the Java Math library, which is just a bunch of functions wrapped up in a static class called Math.

Scope and Readability

As someone who doesn't (normally) use an IDE, it is annoying to see a variable, lets call it x, and have no idea where it is defined:

// c++

void SomeClass::someMethod() {

Is it some global variable? Is it defined somewhere in this file? Is it a member of this class? Perhaps it is a member of the superclass?

Without an IDE to tell you, you might never know. Even with an IDE, sometimes your IDE is slow, and doesn't tell you right a way, and now you are waiting for it to finish scanning/running amok/whatever else it is doing so that you can get on with your life.

Python uses self.x and cls.x for accessing instance and static data respectively, and this makes it very easy to tell when something is part of a class or not. C++ has this->x and C#/Java have this.x, and so on. But, these are usually frowned upon, and IDE's will tend to gray them out, since they are "unnecessary" (in the case of C++/C#/Java).


It is a "best practice" in Java to add getters and setters for all of your field methods, since you never know when you might want to add more functionality to them:

class SomeClass {
  public String name;
  public int age;

  // ...

  public String getName() {
    return name;

  public int getAge() {
    return age;

  public void setName(String n) {
    name = n;

  public void setAge(int n) {
    age = n;

There are 3 lines that are important, and that is:

  1. The name of the class
  2. The name field
  3. The age field

There is also the constructor, which I left out.

This dogmatic approach to writing code takes away from the things that matter, which is certainly not the silly getter/setters. There is this Java library called Lombok, and adds a lot of attributes for auto-generating getters/setters, making builder classes, and so on.

In Python, we have dataclasses, which further reduces the class boilerplate:

from dataclass import dataclass

class SomeClass:
    name: str
    age: int

x = SomeClass(name="bob", age=123) = "alice"

Python and C# have the idea of getter/setter properties, which allow for calling a function when assigning/reading from a field. This means that you can "add" a getter/setter after the fact, and not have to write any boilerplate functions!


Gasp! Encapsulation is good, but there are times where you need to break the rules, and your language makes it hard to do so. For example, in Python, everything is public, there isn't any way of locking things down [2]. This sounds heretical to non-Python programmers, but once you get used to it, it is actually really nice.

C++, C#, and Java have the concept of friend/protected members, which allow for code inside the same "module" to get direct access (as if it where public), though restrict this access to private outside the module. This can be good when you just need access to something "this one time", or want to change something that the original authors (perhaps yourself) didn't want you to.

Lack of Understanding of OOP Concepts

This is more targeted at people who use OOP, or more specifically, don't use OOP for what it is capable of. Ask yourself the following: When was the last time you:

If you haven't done any of those recently, perhaps you aren't using OOP, just putting your code in the right place so that it compiles and runs in whatever framework you chose. OOP is, among other things, a way for you to manage the lifetime of objects, to keep relevant functionality together, for creating hierarchies, for creating boundaries using interfaces and/or abstract classes.


That's all for now. I feel like I missed a few points, but all in all, this covers pretty much everything important.

[1]: Some previously strictly OOP languages (like Java/C#) are adopting more functional approaches, and as such, might not be considered "strictly" OOP in the traditional sense.

[2]: There are frozen classes and such, but they more or less just make it harder, not impossible.