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Paul Jones:
Semantic Versioning and Public Interfaces
Jun 03, 2015 @ 09:16:33

Paul Jones has an interesting post to his site that makes the link between software versioning and public interfaces your code provides. He points out that, despite semantic versioning helping to define how to version your code, there's still some ambiguity about it and backwards compatibility.

Adherence to Semantic Versioning is just The Right Thing To Do, but it turns out you have to be extra-careful when modifying public interfaces to maintain backwards compatibility. This is obvious on reflection, but I never thought about it beforehand. Thanks to Hari KT for pointing it out. Why do you have to be extra-careful with interfaces and SemVer? [...] If we remove a public method, that’s clearly a BC break. If we add a non-optional parameter to an existing public method, that’s also clearly a BC break. [...] However, if we add a new public method to the concrete class, that is not a BC break. Likewise, changing the signature of an existing method to add an optional parameter is not a BC break either. [...] But what happens with an interface?

He suggests that changing current functionality (such as adding a non-optional parameter) is a backwards compatibility break but in an interface so is adding a new method. By adding a method you "break" the implementation someone already has, causing plenty of trouble for the users. He wonders about the right approach for making these updates, if it's creating a new interface or just extending the current one and having users migrate. He also includes a few update notes about abstract classes and how Symfony handles BC breaks too.

tagged: versioning public interface backwardscompatibility break bc abstract symfony

Link: http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/6136


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