Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Koans of Programming: Interface are for me, not for you

"Do not define interfaces to tell the consumer of your system how to use your objects. Define interfaces to tell the consumer of your system how your system will use their objects."

This little gem of wisdom came to me one day some time ago, and remains true today. When you are defining an interface, remember that they are for *you* to use inside your framework, and should be clean, stable, and simple. They should not have to be implemented by someone using your framework, unless those people need to actually override the functionality provided by said interface. When there is no discernible reason for having an interface because implementing it does not change any functionality, then you are more likely trying to tell your user how they should use your classes, which is much better done with a class - in that way, you can put some kind of restraints on how things are used, and you can still, if needed, provide points of extensibility.