Re: abstract static methods (again)

=?ISO-8859-2?Q?Marcin_Rze=BCnicki?= <>
Mon, 19 Oct 2009 06:51:03 -0700 (PDT)
On 19 Pa=BC, 15:06, Tomas Mikula <> wrote:

On Oct 19, 2:19 pm, Marcin Rze 1/4 nicki <>

On 19 Pa 1/4, 13:08, Tomas Mikula <> wrote:

On Sun, 18 Oct 2009 19:58:43 -0700, Marcin Rze 1/4 nicki wrote:

On 19 Pa 1/4, 04:06, Tomas Mikula <> wrote:

I have searched this group for "abstract static methods" and found=


couple of threads, but I think none of them was discussing the kin=

d of

semantics I am going to describe. As you might have guessed, I bel=


it would be useful :). I further believe it is fully complatible w=


the current language, but there might be caveats I have overlooked=

.. I'm

wonder if you would find it as useful as I do and if you see any
problems with it. I know it is a long post and some parts may be
difficult to understand. Therefore I will be thankful if you can r=


it all and think about it.

Interesting but I doubt it is going to be useful. First of all, bec=


statics should remain non-inheritable, static abstract actually for=


each subclass to implement its own definition - extreme nuisance in=



Yes (unless the subclass is abstract). I think in some cases it is
reasonable (as with the enforced no-arg constructor in Serializable, =


some other serialization static methods. For example, if I want to
deserialize an immutable object, I need to do it by a static method o=

r a

special constructor, because the non-static readObject(...) method in
Java's serialization API is a mutator method. In my opinion it is
reasonable to enforce own implementation of a (de)serialization metho=


Hi, possibly it is reasonable, but what is wrong with how it is done
today (readObject/writeObject) which you are not required to implement
if default behavior suffices?

I'm saying it is wrong, but just don't like that the implementation
requires a lot of reflection. (I don't mind that implementation of
statndard Java API requires reflection, because someone has already
implemented it for me. But if I want to create my own serialization
framework (e.g. for xml serialization), I need to do a lot of
reflection which could be automated.) Probably one thing I find wrong
with readObject - as I already mentioned, it prevents the object to be
immutable. Though this could also be solved by declaring it static and
use reflection.

Yes, but someone did it for you either - JAXB, xStreams etc. This is
not a type of work you do day-in day-out, so benefits are rarely to be

Example with generics can easily be substituted by some kind of
"trait" parameter

Sorry, I don't know what you mean by "trait" parameter? Do you mean t=


I would call the zero() method on some instance?

I borrowed the terminology from C++. More or less, you add type
parameter (let's say <Zero extends ZeroVector>) which has a method
like getZeroVector() (strictly speaking ZeroVector has this method).
Actual type parameter provides concrete implementation.

I don't see how this would help. Would I call Zero.getZeroVector()?
Probably you meant something else because this leads to the same
problem with calling static method getZeroVector() on a type
parameter. Could you provide an example?

public class MyVector<T, Zero extends ZeroVector> extends Vector2D<T>
public MyVector(Zero zero) { = zero; }

MyVector<Integer, Zero2D> vec = new MyVector(;

or suitable simple design pattern (for example
Factory), or even with classic sub-typing (zero vector needs not kn=


its dimension, it can simply 'answer' with neutral element of the r=


on which it is constructed for each and every component query),

Allowing operations between a concrete vector and this general zero
vector would require to also allow operations between 2D and 3D vetor=

s -

the original type safety would disappear.

I don't get it, could you provide an example?

If I understood well, you meant something like this:

Class Vector {
    public static Vector getZeroVector(){
        return someSpecialZeroVectorInstance;
    public abstract Vector add(Vector v);


Class Vector2D {
    public Vector add(Vector v){...}


class MyClass<V extends Vector> {
    V v; // V is some concrete class, such as Vector2D
    Vector zero = Vector.getZeroVector();
    v.add(zero); // adding a general Vector zero to concrete v
    // if this is allowed, then also the following is
    v.add(new Vector3D(1,2,3)); // summing 2D and 3D vector


Right but implementation of addition surely checks for this case,
doesn't it?
public void add(Vector<? extends T> v) { if (v.getDimension() !=
this.getDimension() ) throw new IllegalArgumentException(); }
So it suffices to have a factory method for appropriate zero vectors
Vector zero = Vector.getZeroVector(2);

 no big
win here either (eliminating type erasure is extremely welcome but =


other reasons). One big advantage of inheritance is, in my opinion,=


it enables you to compose more specialized classes from generic one=

s, it

is easy to imagine algebraic ordering relation between types based =


inheritance. Your version of statics breaks this assumption without
promise of any reward in exchange.

I don't see how it breaks this relation between classes. Also now it =


possible to hide supertype's static methods by own implementation. I
would only add that in some cases this hiding would be required.

I was not very clear, it was late when I was writing :-) I guess what
I was trying to say was that you can impose ordering based on
specialization (as opposed to parent-child relationship). Each class
in an inheritance chain either extends or redefines partially its
ancestor (I am using 'or' as logical or). Therefore each class is
either more specialized (if redefinition occurs and it accepts
stronger contract, as in Rectangle->Square) or equally specialized (if
extension occurs and all redefinitions do not change contract - I
treat extension as an interface extension so that class can be used
_additionally_ in different context). Your proposal forces implementor
to provide implementation for non-inheritable method, so it really
can't take any benefit from redefinitions up the chain. Therefore all
concrete classes are at most equally specialized as their context of
usage is determined by a static method. So it does not play well with
most "inheritance patterns". That's how I see it.

Now I don't get it. Can you provide an example where you have a class
and its specialized subclass and adding an abstract static method to
their interface removes/prohibits this specialization?

Yes, consider
public abstract class IOStream //for reading disk streams {
   public abstract static boolean isReadable(File f) //returns true
for files which a concrete class can hopefully process.

public class LocalIOStream extends IOstream {
public static boolean isreadable(File f) { return f.isLocalFile(); }

public class AudioVideoStream extends LocalIOStream {

in AVStream you have, if I understood you correctly, two choices -
either to redo all work of super-classes which is not really an
option, let's say,
public static boolean isReadable(File f) { return f.isLocalFile() &&
(f instanceof AudioFile && ((AudioFile)f).getAudioCodecID().equals
or omit it so then you impose different context. Namely, pretend to be
able to read remote files while you are not.
And one more question:
//client code
Stream s = new AudioVideStream(..);

public byte[] read10Bytes(Stream s) {
if (!Stream.isReadable(file)) //how would you dispatch it? There is no
way I suppose

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