Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Published vs Public

I was reading back in Martin Fowler's bog and found this interesting thought. Basically he says we've overloaded the word 'public' so it means too many things. In the context of Java code 'public' means something that can be called externally, in the context of an API it means something that's been published for external users. The distinction might be subtle on the surface, but anyone who has had to deal with versioning a published API will understand the painful difference. Currently Java lacks a common development idiom for dealing with this difference beyond shipping some Javadoc. What might a more formal idiom involve? Something as simple as a new package naming scheme for 'published' packages might work. Any thoughts?
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