Properties Get No Respect

There has been another flurry of discussions about closures in Java and minor language enhancements, together with the usual flurry of “leave the language alone” lamentations.

Conspicuously absent from this discussion was my pet unappreciated language feature, native properties. Properties get no respect. Every few weeks, another blogger comes along and says “we need a property syntax”, proposes something, and moves on to greener pastures.

devilUnlike closures, properties are dull. It is no fun figuring out how to deal with pesky syntax minutiae while at the same time fending off the inevitable naysayers (“What's the big deal...Eclipse writes the getters and setters for me”) and the OO purists (“Properties are the tool of the devil...they break encapsulation”).

As a result, most of the effort about properties has been scattered about in the blogosphere, and there was never enough momentum to arrive at a consensus. Nikolay Botev, a computer science student at SJSU, has done something about that. In his independent study project, he collected every reference about properties he could find, in Java and other languages, and put all the information into a Wiki. He also added nifty voting buttons to the Wiki.

While everyone else is madly milling about at the mall, please take a few minutes to see check it out: If you are a properties enthusiast (you know who you are), please make an account and add to the Wiki.

Happy holidays!