[swift-evolution] API Guideline bugs and enhancements

Paul Cantrell cantrell at pobox.com
Tue Jan 5 15:26:11 CST 2016

I’ll second Erica on wanting a place to discuss the API guidelines. In general, I like their general approach and philosophy — very much so! — but I also have concerns about some of the details. For example, I totally agree with Erica’s suggestion that all methods with side effects should be verbs, not just ones that mutate the receiver.

You can read here a detailed writeup on the sticking points I hit trying to put the guidelines into practice on a real-world project:

https://gist.github.com/pcantrell/22a6564ca7d22789315b <https://gist.github.com/pcantrell/22a6564ca7d22789315b>

The acceptance rate for Apple-guideline-recommended changes come out at only about 50%.

I realize that guidelines are just guidelines, but that seems like a bit of an easy out if the guidelines doc is meant to help unify the style of disparate Swift libraries.



> On Jan 5, 2016, at 2:44 PM, Erica Sadun via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> Are API Design Guideline improvement discussions in scope for the Swift Evolution list and if not, where would they go?
> For example, the current Swift API Design Guidelines follow these rules more or less.
> Use imperative verb phrases for mutating methods: x.reverse(), x.sort(), x.tweak()
> Use noun phrases for non-mutating methods: x.distanceTo(...), idx.successor()
> Seems to me the rules should actually be along the lines of:
> Use verb phrases to declare procedural methods, whether or not they mutate an instance or just produce side effects: x.reverse(), x.sort(), x.tweak(), x.perform(), x.dispatch(), x.send()
> Use noun phrases to describe values returned by a functional method: x.distanceTo(y), index.successor() (This admittedly leaves further issues around other functional methods, for example, seq.separatedBySequence(seq) and  int.strideTo(other: Self, step:Self.Stride), etc. )
> Are enhancements for API Design Guidelines an area for community involvement? Where would you start a discussion about the rules? Would modifications involve formal proposals?
> _______________________________________________
> swift-evolution mailing list
> swift-evolution at swift.org
> https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution

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