[swift-evolution] private & fileprivate

Haravikk swift-evolution at haravikk.me
Fri Oct 7 03:24:18 CDT 2016

> On 7 Oct 2016, at 07:39, David Hart via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> Hello community,
> From all the proposals which has gone into Swift 3, [SE-0025] Scoped Access Level is the only one I’m having second thoughts about. Before launching a discussion around it, I’m curious to know if it's worth discussing it or if the “ship has sailed”. As the plan is to allow future versions of Swift to break source-compatibility in certain rare scenarios, perhaps we have a chance to reconsider certain proposals?
> Regards,
> David.
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What in particular don't you like about it?

Personally I still don't like the use of fileprivate as the keyword, I was very much in favour of a bracketed system like:

	private(scope)		Current private (I think, it doesn't appear to be equivalent to protected in other languages anyway so I wouldn't call it type).
	private(file)		Current fileprivate
	private(module)	Current internal/default when omitted
	public			Current public

I favour this because it groups all restrictive access levels under private (since they're all some form of private) with an optional modifier that's explicit about what it's for. Also, it would have scope to move things like final into a modifier too, so you might declare a method as public(final), or public(open) if that's implemented later and so-on. Just seems like a generally more flexible setup that also reduces the number of keywords required.

Some may feel it's noisy, but personally I don't see it as a problem as it always comes before the func/var/let keyword, generics and function name, so it's not like it's near anything where the (minor) noise reduces readability.

But yeah, having used the new fileprivate for a little while I just don't like it; it may partly come down to the fact that I use fileprivate a lot more than I use regular private. If we were to adopt the above scheme I would recommend that private(file) be the default for use of the plain private keyword, unless we gain the ability to specify private(type) (i.e- protected in most other languages), as private(scope) seems like it's the less common, at least in my experience.
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