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4 points by nex3 5881 days ago | link | parent

Yeah, I've seen several ways to express has-a relationships. Statically typed languages like Haskell tend to express them as is-a relationships (e.g. Int is-a Ord), since that meshes well with type safety. Languages that embrace duck typing, like Ruby, tend to make has-a relationships implicit; just use the method (or in Arc's case, function) and assume that the receiver will react properly. This meshes well with the late-binding, screw-static-verification philosophies of these languages, which Arc generally shares, and the message-passing object model, which Arc does not.

This is where I assume Arc will end up building its type system, if it ever does embrace a single type philosophy[1]. Even if it doesn't have a message-passing model, its dynamism makes the implicit has-a model a good fit.

The only language I've seen that embraces explicit checks for has-a relationships, as opposed to expressing them as is-a or making them implicit, is Javascript. This is mostly because you're dealing with objects that have an inherently variable and ill-defined interface that you don't know a lot about at compile-time. I think most JS developers view it as an annoying necessity, though, so I'm inclined to believe it's the least pleasant way of dealing with has-a (despite being the most explicit).

[1] Speaking of which, I really think it should. This is sort of implicit in taking part in all these discussions about typing, I suppose, but I wanted to mention it anyway. Any sufficiently powerful, has-a-based type system won't be a constraint on the language, but will rather allow powerful abstractions like Ruby's #each and almkglor's scanner.