Traits, rôles and other repurposed terms

Jonathan Stowe jns at
Fri Feb 8 11:45:07 GMT 2008

On Fri, 2008-02-08 at 10:45 +0000, Jonathan Stowe wrote:
> On Thu, 2008-02-07 at 14:06 -0600, Jonathan Rockway wrote:
> > * On Thu, Feb 07 2008, Jonathan Stowe wrote:
> > > On Thu, 2008-02-07 at 12:51 -0600, Jonathan Rockway wrote:
> > >> it will use "traits", although we prefer to spell it "roles".
> > >
> > > I admit it: I'm an arts graduate and musician who plays at being a
> > > computer programmer during the week. Now I *think* I know what you these
> > > mean but just to check could someone explain in a simple paragraph
> > > suitable for a naïve audience.
> > 
> > Sure.  The summary:
> >   Roles are a way to cleanly reuse code among classes that aren't related.
> ...
> I'm still left none the wiser to what they actually *are* though,
> knowing what I can do with them doesn't help me understand....

Ah, I think I know where my confusion sprang from after having discussed
this on IRC. I'm fairly used to various overloaded uses of language in
metaphor and other parts of rhetoric, so I was expecting that the terms
might in some way offer some clue as to the nature of the concepts to
which they were attached. However it appears, to me anyway, that the
words themselves are completely opaque: there is absolutely no
connection I can determine between the words and the concepts that they

Having realized this and now I'm not struggling to find some meaning in
the terms themselves it all becomes much clearer. 

I'd still like a nice self-sufficient paragraph that explains the ideas
without reference to some example code though.


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