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James Gosling on Java, May 2001
A Conversation with Java's Creator, James Gosling
by Bill Venners
First Published in JavaWorld, June 2001

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Too Many Little Objects

Bill Venners: In an interview I read, you were asked what's the most common mistake Java programmers make, and you replied, "creating too many little objects." I wanted to get more information about what is too little and what is too often instantiated for an object. If I am making this big API or writing a program, to what extent should I worry about how big my objects are and how many of them I'm creating? And isn't that a performance versus ease of use tradeoff?

James Gosling: Often systems that have lots of little objects are easier to understand, easier to maintain, a lot cleaner. That's often how people get there is they have taken courses on building nicely structured systems. They do that, and the system is nicely structured. But then a little later, you do some performance benchmarks and almost always, there is not a problem. But every now and then, you find that holy mackerel, I went to do something really simple and I'm 27 levels deep in methods. There was an app I was looking at the other day where the guy was building this data structure and the way he did it, he eventually doubled the storage consumption.

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