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James Gosling on Java, May 1999
A Converstion with Java's Creator, James Gosling
by Bill Venners
First Published in JavaWorld, June 1999

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Inspiration for the Interface

Bill Venners: In Java you included multiple inheritance of interface, but left out multiple inheritance of implementation. Were you trying to say anything to designers by making the interface a separate construct? Were you trying to say anything by leaving out multiple inheritance of implementation? How did that come about?

James Gosling: It listened to people from the C++ and Objective-C camps, and I tried to sort out who had the most happy experiences. The Objective-C notion of a pure interface with no implementation seemed to have worked out really well for people. It avoids a lot of the sticky issues such as disambiguation that people get into in C++. It's still kind of messy. It's an area that I don't feel totally happy with.

Bill Venners: In what way?

James Gosling: Another way for doing these things is a technique called delegation. Some ideas in the delegation camp felt good, but I never came up with anything that really worked. I ended up with the interface construct, which felt simple enough to be comprehensible, sophisticated enough to be useful. It also avoided any of the tar pits that the other folks got into.

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