The A to Z of programming languages: Objective-C

Our series on the most popular programming languages continues as we chat to Objective-C co-creator Brad Cox

Did you have any previous expertise in Smalltalk before inventing the language?

No. Everything I know came from the Byte magazine article and interacting with its developers. I’d known Adele Goldberg at U. of Chicago.

What was the general feeling for object-oriented programming amongst developers at the time?

Object-oriented programming was largely unknown at the time outside of research labs. I built Objective-C to take OOP “to the factory floor”.

Do you think you were successful in that?


Do you have any regrets about maintaining the language i.e., any problems you didn't resolve in the language you wish you had?

No. Lack of garbage collection was a known issue from the beginning, but an inescapable one without sacrificing the reasons people choose C in the first place.

Was there any apprehension to selling the rights to Objective-C to Steve Jobs' NeXT in 1995?

Not really.

Do you think Objective-C would still be around today if it weren't for NeXT's acquisition?

Probably not.

How do you feel Objective-C 2.0 added to your original language? Can you still call it yours in any sense?

I’ve never thought of as “mine” in any sense, certainly not emotionally. Its a soldering gun. And lots of other people were involved in building it, not just me.

Have you played any significant part Objective-C's evolution since the acquisition?

Not really. I’ve moved on to larger granularity components, particularly SOA and OSGI.

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