[swift-evolution] Proposal - Allow properties in Extensions

John McCall rjmccall at apple.com
Thu Dec 24 13:31:47 CST 2015

> On Dec 23, 2015, at 10:51 AM, Matthew Johnson <matthew at anandabits.com> wrote:
>> On Dec 23, 2015, at 12:50 PM, John McCall via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>> On Dec 23, 2015, at 7:05 AM, Paul Cantrell <cantrell at pobox.com> wrote:
>>> On Dec 22, 2015, at 10:45 PM, John McCall via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>>> when you stuff a lot of functionality into a single class in most OO languages, there’s no real way to enforce its division into subsystems, because every method has direct access to every property and every other method.  In contrast, in Swift you can divide that class into distinct components with their own interface, state, and invariants, essentially making each component as good as its own type as far as encapsulation goes.
>>> Can you elaborate on this, John? Extensions and protocols in Swift today still don’t solve the problem that shared _private_ class state has to be centralized. Or were you speaking as if this “properties in extensions” proposal were already implemented?
>> Yes, that’s right.  I’m explaining why I think it makes sense to limit stored instance properties in extensions to class types: especially with some solution for private initialization of extensions, they enable intra-class encapsulation in a way that matters for classes and not really for other types.
> How would private initialization of extensions work?

Just spit-balling, but something like:

  class A {
    init(numbers: [Int]) {
       // Definitive initialization requires initialization of all the extensions
       // in the module that declare partial inits before the call to super.init.
       self.init(counts: numbers)

       // Okay, now we super.init.

       // Fully initialized now.

  extension A {
    let counts: [Int]
    partial init(counts: [Int]) {
      // Definitive initialization requires a partial init to initialize all the stored properties
      // in this extension.  This all happens prior to the complete initialization of self,
      // so unlike a normal init, there is no point in this initializer when unrestricted
      // use of self is allowed.  If that’s required, it can be done with an ordinary method
      // call.
      // To start, partial initializers would not be allowed to use properties from other
      // extensions or the main class.  We can consider ways to lift that restriction later.

      self.counts = counts


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