[swift-evolution] Pre-proposal: "private(extension)" access modifier?

Austin Zheng austinzheng at gmail.com
Thu Jan 7 15:29:33 CST 2016

I see your point, and I think it's a good one. I'm don't think this
proposal is worth pursuing further, although I would like some notion of
more flexible access control in the future.


On Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 5:47 PM, Félix Cloutier <felixcca at yahoo.ca> wrote:

> Maybe it's because I know too much about it, but to me, private(extension)
> doesn't follow the spirit of private(set).
> In Swift, access modifiers are tied to the linker's notion of symbol
> visibility. Private symbols are accessible only within the current file
> because they're not exported at all. Internal symbols are accessible only
> within the module because they don't make it to the public symbol table.
> When you have private(set), all you're saying is "make the setter private",
> and this is easy.
> In general, your definition of private(extension) makes it identical to
> internal, except that autocomplete won't be cluttered with
> private(extension) members in files that don't extend the class. Because of
> that, I don't think that it adds a lot of technical complexity to access
> control, but it also makes me think that it might not be worth it.
> Since private(extension) can be (ab)used to make any member internal, I
> wonder if we couldn't fix this with finer-grained autocomplete or something
> instead.
> Félix
> Le 5 janv. 2016 à 19:59:11, Austin Zheng via swift-evolution <
> swift-evolution at swift.org> a écrit :
> Hi all,
> One popular use of extensions is to take the definition of a type (e.g.
> MyBigClass) and to split it up over a number of files, grouping related
> methods together for increased code comprehensibility. However, access
> control makes doing so more difficult: members that are implementation
> details and declared as 'private' can't be seen from other files.
> I'd like to suggest an access modifier: "private(extension)". This follows
> in the spirit of the existing "private(set)" for properties. It would work
> in the following way:
> - A member declared private(set) would be visible throughout the file
> within which it was declared, exactly as if it had been declared "private"
> today.
> - A member declared private(set) would be visible in any file containing
> an extension to the member's type, throughout the entire file.
> - This would only work for extensions to types declared within the same
> module; it would not be meant as a way to expose impl details to other
> modules or application code consuming the module.
> - A property in T meant to be only gettable from other files, but settable
> from extensions to T in other files, would be declared "private(set,
> extension)".
> I think this is a reasonably elegant, small-surface-area solution to a
> common problem, but I can see some potential objections:
> - It adds some complexity to the access control subsystem. Maybe that
> subsystem is complex enough as is.
> - It might leak implementation details of a type T to code belonging to
> another type or global function, residing within the same file as an
> extension to T.
> - Maybe there might be more elegant ways to improve or extend the access
> control subsystem.
> Any thoughts?
> Best,
> Austin
> _______________________________________________
> swift-evolution mailing list
> swift-evolution at swift.org
> https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.swift.org/pipermail/swift-evolution/attachments/20160107/fe223305/attachment.html>

More information about the swift-evolution mailing list