I watched a bunch of lectures on Clojure and functional programming by Rich Hickey as well as some of the SICP lectures, and I am sold on many concepts of functional programming. I incorporated some of them into my C# code at a previous job, and luckily it was easy to write C# code in a more functional style.
At my new job we use Python and multiple inheritance is all the rage. My co-workers are very smart but they have to produce code fast given the nature of the company. I am learning both the tools and the codebase, but the architecture itself slows me down as well. I have not written the existing class hierarchy (neither would I be able to remember everything about it), and so, when I started adding a fairly small feature, I realized that I had to read a lot of code in the process. At the surface the code is neatly organized and split into small functions/methods and not copy-paste-repetitive, but the flip side of being not repetitive is that there is some magic functionality hidden somewhere in the hierarchy chain that magically glues things together and does work on my behalf, but it is very hard to find and follow. I had to fire up a profiler and run it through several examples and plot the execution graph as well as step through a debugger a few times, search the code for some substring and just read pages at the time. I am pretty sure that once I am done, my resulting code will be short and neatly organized, and yet not very readable.
What I write feels declarative, as if I was writing an XML file that drives some other magic engine, except that there is no clear documentation on what the XML should look like and what the engine does except for the existing examples that I can read as well as the source code for the 'engine'.
There has got to be a better way. IMO using composition over inheritance can help quite a bit. That way the computation will be linear rather than jumping all over the hierarchy tree. Whenever the functionality does not quite fit into an inheritance model, it will need to be mangled to fit in, or the entire inheritance hierarchy will need to be refactored/rebalanced, sort of like an unbalanced binary tree needs reshuffling from time to time in order to improve the average seek time.
As I mentioned before, my co-workers are very smart; they just have been doing things a certain way and probably have an ability to hold a lot of unrelated crap in their head at once.
I want to convince them to give composition and functional as opposed to OOP approach a try. To do that, I need to find some very good material. I do not think that a SCIP lecture or one by Rich Hickey will do - I am afraid it will be flagged down as too academic. Then, simple examples of Dog and Frog and AddressBook classes do not really connivence one way or the other - they show how inheritance can be converted to composition but not why it is truly and objectively better.
What I am looking for is some real-world example of code that has been written with a lot of inheritance, then hit a wall and re-written in a different style that uses composition. Perhaps there is a blog or a chapter. I am looking for something that can summarize and illustrate the sort of pain that I am going through.
I already have been throwing the phrase "composition over inheritance" around, but it was not received as enthusiastically as I had hoped. I do not want to be perceived as a new guy who likes to complain and bash existing code while looking for a perfect approach while not contributing fast enough. At the same time, my gut is convinced that inheritance is often the instrument of evil and I want to show a better way in a near future.
Have you stumbled upon any great resources that can help me?