Mathias Verraes has a new post to his site today with an interesting idea when it comes to handling the architecture of an application: using objects as the contracts for behavior. He suggests that the objects themselves define how other pieces of code should interact with them, not necessarily external services. He illustrates with an invoice and appointment example.
Of course invoices do not pay themselves, but that’s not what an object model is trying to do. An invoice exposes the behaviour of being able to be paid. That ability is in fact essential to what it means to be an invoice. The behaviour is an inherent property of an invoice. If an invoice doesn’t have the ability of being paid, there’s no point in issuing invoices at all. In other words, the contract of an invoice object declares that its interface includes payment as a feature. Its promise to the outside world is that it allows an outsider to pay for it. Encapsulation of state and behaviour is the core idea behind objects.
He wonders why, if this is more true to the "object-oriented programming" ideals, the idea of encapsulating procedural code as objects is so widespread. He suggests a lack of education on the subject or maybe even confusion from spoken languages themselves.