The Problem that Generic Code Addresses

Generics, also known as templates or parametric polymorphism, seem to be a popular feature in modern programming languages. Ada has them, so does C++, and so does Microsoft's copy of Java, C#. The overall design for Java generics was published in 1998, long before C# was launched. C# is again following Java's lead and adopting generics, although with a different design. The popularity might lead you to think that generics solve a big and important problem.

If you look at some of the written material justifying generics in Java, however, a different picture emerges. Some texts suggest that a purpose of generics is to reduce the amount of casting needed, particularly when using the Java data structure ...

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