[swift-evolution] [Review] Require self for accessing instance members

Jed Lewison jed.lewison at icloud.com
Fri Dec 18 00:02:37 CST 2015

I’m not in favor of this proposal, and rather than repeat arguments that have already been made, I thought I’d share a small piece of data from the project I’m working on to illustrate the impact of implicit self in terms of reducing repetitive boilerplate cruft.

Our project consists of a legacy ObjC code base for an iOS app and a new version written entirely in Swift. The feature set is largely the same in both code bases, so it’s a good A vs B comparison.

In the Objective C version of the app, there are ~25,000 explicit references to self. (Keep in mind that this could easily have been a much bigger number if there weren’t such pervasive usage of ivars in the code.).

In the Swift version, there are ~1,000 explicit references to self, mostly in initializers and when passing self as an argument to a protocol — and about 10% of those would disappear with the proposal to allow implicit references to self with a strong capture list.

I know self is just a 4-letter word, and I know Swift’s goal isn’t to reduce character count simply for the sake of reducing character count, but it least for our project, avoiding “self”-blindness has really mode code more readable.

> On Dec 16, 2015, at 1:55 PM, Douglas Gregor via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> Hello Swift community,
> The review of “Require self for accessing instance members” begins now and runs through Sunday, December 20th. The proposal is available here:
> 	https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/proposals/0009-require-self-for-accessing-instance-members.md <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/proposals/0009-require-self-for-accessing-instance-members.md>
> Reviews are an important part of the Swift evolution process. All reviews should be sent to the swift-evolution mailing list at
> 	https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution <https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution>
> or, if you would like to keep your feedback private, directly to the review manager.
> What goes into a review?
> The goal of the review process is to improve the proposal under review through constructive criticism and, eventually, determine the direction of Swift. When writing your review, here are some questions you might want to answer in your review:
> 	* What is your evaluation of the proposal?
> 	* Is the problem being addressed significant enough to warrant a change to Swift?
> 	* Does this proposal fit well with the feel and direction of Swift?
> 	* If you have you used other languages or libraries with a similar feature, how do you feel that this proposal compares to those?
> 	* How much effort did you put into your review? A glance, a quick reading, or an in-depth study?
> More information about the Swift evolution process is available at
> 	https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/process.md <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/process.md>
> 	Cheers,
> 	Doug Gregor
> 	Review Manager
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