duck typing

<programming> A term coined by Dave Thomas for a kind of dynamic typing typical of some programming languages, such as Smalltalk, Ruby or Visual FoxPro, where a variable's run-time value determines the operations that can be performed on it.

The term comes from the "duck test": if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.

Duck typing considers the methods to which a value responds and the attributes it posesses rather than its relationship to a type hierarchy. This encourages greater polymorphism because types are enforced as late as possible.

Last updated: 2006-09-13

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Nearby terms:

dual ported « dual-stack « Dual Tone Multi Frequency « duck typing » DUEL » duff » Duff's device