Functions vs OOP

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Tue Sep 6 00:55:36 CEST 2011

On 9/5/2011 1:45 PM, William Gill wrote:
> On 9/4/2011 9:13 AM, rusi wrote:
>> On Sep 3, 9:15 pm, William Gill<nore... at domain.invalid> wrote:
>>> During some recent research, and re-familiarization with Python, I came
>>> across documentation that suggests that programming using functions, and
>>> programming using objects were somehow opposing techniques.
>> Staying with (for the moment) the suggestion that OO-P and F-P are
>> complementary, I believe it is worthwhile to distinguish syntactic OO-
>> P vs F-P from semantic OO-P vs F-P.
>> Syntactically: f(x) is functional x.f() is object oriented.
>> Semantically if f's return value depends only on x ie does not depend
>> on state it is functional (in the math sense) -- the jargon is that f
>> is referentially transparent.
> Not to split hairs, but syntactically f(x) is a function in many
> programming paradigms.
> As I understand it functional programming places specific requirements
> on functions, i.e.referential transparency. So f(x) may or may not be
> "functional".

In Python, it may be a parameterized procedure. Some languages separate 
functions and procedures (also called subroutines). Python does not. 
(Or you could say that it makes procedures into functions with 
side-effects by returning None by default).

> x.f() is also a function, but it is a member of the object x, is
> referred to as a 'method' of x, and uses the syntactical "dot" notation
> object"dot"function for identification.
>> Referential opaqueness is usually such a source of problems that it
>> turns out good to contain the problem somewhat -- hence the wish for
>> encapsulation.
>> One can find in the python library itself all 4 combinations:
>> syntactically and semantically OO : sort
>> syntactically and semantically FP: sorted
>> syntactically OO semantically FP: join

Terry Jan Reedy

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