[Cuis-dev] Why can't you send to super on private (pvt*) methods?

Phil B pbpublist at gmail.com
Mon Jun 10 16:15:14 PDT 2019


On Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 6:24 PM Juan Vuletich <juan at jvuletich.org> wrote:

> On 6/10/2019 5:09 PM, Phil B via Cuis-dev wrote:
> > Something I've never understood is why you can't send super on pvt*
> > methods?  The sends are still contained to the class hierarchy and
> > it's legal for a superclass to send to a pvt* that is only defined on
> > a subclass... so why isn't going in the other direction allowed?
> Good question! I see no reason. Given that a class can assign values to
> inherited variables, there's already no protection. So I think that
> calling super pvt* method should be allowed. Anybody can see a reason?
Cool... I too would be curious if anyone is aware of a historical reason
why this should not be allowed or was it just an oversight?

> BTW, we'd really make methods such as #setCollection:,
> #setNumerator:denominator:, actually all methods set*, all methods
> private* and all methods in a 'private*' category actually private...
> For example the comment at #privateSetX:setY: looks so silly.
Why do you think the #privateSetX:setY: looks silly?  I think it's a decent
placeholder that I read as saying 'we really want this to be immutable and
are indicating this as private to reflect that fact until we can actually
make it immutable via the VM'

Private categories are good for getting methods out of the way in the main
browser but I'm not wild about them beyond that.  The main issue I have
with private categories is that they are so easy to overlook in the
browsers.  For example, if you're in the message finder and you do a search
on 'set', the fact that it shows up as private* makes it very clear that
it's not a method you should be using generally.  If the private prefix
were removed, you'd have to be sure to select an implementor in the right
pane (and hope that they are consistently categorized) and then be sure to
look for the category buried in the method annotation below (which might be
'private' or 'private - someSubCategory' etc)... ugh!  Or if you see a raw
selector (i.e. #setX:setY:) in code now you have to do the above as opposed
to just looking at the selector name.

That said, if it really bugs you or others, I will live without the
prefix.  But I do find it helpful.

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