[swift-evolution] Issues with 0005-Better Translation of Objective-C APIs Into Swift

Aaron Crespo aaroncrespo at gmail.com
Tue Feb 2 13:49:26 CST 2016

I think Kevin and I come from the same place and largely agree. I feel like
this is trading in of accessibility and discoverability for the sake of
terseness. This might be aesthetically pleasing but gives up many positive
side effects the more descriptive names provide.

Consider the time before you knew you could or how to "check the
documentation". Or the time spent scanning unfamiliar or long forgotten

These concerns might be eased if consideration was also being given to the
first parameter rule. And the (now) odd difference between initializers and
function parameter names. Apply the same rules as any parameter name.

Stealing Kevins example:

let next = current.updating(proximity: p)

Not great but better.

On Tue, Feb 2, 2016 at 2:16 PM, Kevin Schlei via swift-evolution <
swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:

> Sorry for the premature send! Continuing:
> let content = listItemView.text.trimming(.whitespaceAndNewlines)
> For a beginning programmer, there is no indication of what .trimming does.
> In this case, it returns a new string instance. Where is that explained? In
> the documentation. Nowhere near the method call.
> So are we reduced now to looking up documentation just to read code? What
> does this line do:
> let next = current.updating(p)
> It's 100% unclear because you're relying on parameter names to contain all
> the hints. But this line:
> let next = current.locationByUpdatingProximity(p)
> Lets you know that:
> 1. we're returning a *'location'*
> 2. '*by* *updating' *current with a new *'proximity'*
> When is the last time you saw a gerund (-ing) as a method name? I wouldn't
> let my students write that. Gerunds make good boolean properties. How would
> you even read the first line above out loud? Probably by filling in the
> words in the second line, magically.
> My second major issue is that autocomplete grouping is totally lost when
> dropping the type returned at the beginning of the call. How many of us
> learned a *ton* when we just autocompleted .stringBy? Look at all the
> things you can do! But by removing the 'useless word' (really don't like
> that flag name) we have no grouping of constructor methods.
> I see a lot of discussion on how to deal with 'with' and 'by' and other
> words, but I want to strongly suggest that the current naming practices
> provide context and clarity. It makes code readable and accessible. Don't
> forget about when you didn't know how to code! These method names are
> teaching tools!
> Finally, I just want to ask: why? What is the great benefit? Shouldn't
> clarity be prioritized over brevity (where have I seen that...)
> I can't put it better than another forums poster:
> Does the Swift team seriously believe that systematically parsing and
>> extensively munging patterns in not-quite-natural-language is tractable to
>> support all the corner cases for? And that, even if it were, that it could
>> avoid confusion in less-than-perfect codebases? The idea that this will
>> somehow benefit a language, particularly one in which clear and obvious
>> bridging is so vital is *insane*. The best it can do is a reasonable
>> job, with some amount of either unfixable brokenness forced upon developers
>> in perpetuity, or constant churn stemming from perpetual fixing of
>> brokenness. Swift's translation is currently simple to reason about, and
>> the language as a whole has got a really great thing going on. I'm really
>> happy with where it is at this moment. Why ruin it by boneheadedly
>> detonating the utility of two years of progress in literature and the
>> library of online information about Swift? Seriously, why?
> On Tue, Feb 2, 2016 at 1:04 PM, Kevin Schlei <kevinschlei at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I am strongly against the proposed changes to the translation of
>> Objective-C APIs. I think the changes promote terseness for terseness sake,
>> lose vital context in method names, and are a huge loss pedagogically.
>> If you teach programming, you'll know why this line will be a nightmare:
>> let content = listItemView.text.trimming(.whitespaceAndNewlines)
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