Archives / 2004 / January
  • A plea for full multiple inheritance support in .NET

    Although I find it absurd to put in a disclaimer, I know for a fact that talking about Multiple Inheritance (MI) is risky, because it is one of those subjects which can cause irrational reactions, resulting in flame-fests. Discussions about MI should be theoretical and thus based on theory, not about one of the many different implementations. I'm discussing the theoretical benefits of MI and am not discussing a real implementation like C++'s MI. I've done some research on this subject prior to writing this article and have read many discussions about MI and .NET and also discussions about MI and languages like Eiffel, so I'm aware of the disadvantages of MI, I also am aware of the reasons (of the ones that are publicly stated) why .NET doesn't have MI at the moment. Still I think .NET contains enough functionality and implementations of classes and interfaces which require MI to be fully utilized. MI is a complex concept, however so is the concept of generics. MI can result in unmaintainable code, but so can Single Inheritance (SI) (any language can be used to write unmaintainable, bad code). You can work around MI in most situations, but you can also work around the lack of polymorphism (in C for example, by using function pointers) or even OO. Still it's seen as an advantage to have OO, polymorphism and (soon) generics.