What Makes Good Code? – Should Every Class Have An Interface? Pt 1

What's An Interface? I mentioned in the first post of this series that I'll likely be referring to C# in most of these posts. I think the concept of an interface in C# extends to other languages--sometimes by a different name--so the discussion here may still be applicable. Some examples in C++, Java, and Python to get you going for comparisons. From MSDN: An interface contains definitions for a group of related functionalities that a class or a struct can implement. By using interfaces, you can, for example, include behavior from multiple sources in a class. That capability is important in C# because the language doesn't support multiple inheritance of classes. In addition, you must use an interface if you want to simulate inheritance for structs, because they can't actually inherit from another struct or class. It's also important to note…

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Keep Your Fields Private

Background A recent discussion about this spurred a bit of a debate. Ever since I can remember, I've always been told to keep fields private. If you want to expose them any more than private you should use a property. Of course, I was defending my stance on this and figured I should see what other people were saying. I turned to the trusty Stack Overflow (SO) for some answers. Argument For: Control One of the major categories of arguments for keeping fields private has to do with control. Some great points brought up by SO posters included that properties allow you to easily add verification to your data storage. With a field inside of your class, your control is over how this variable is manipulated is constrained to the class. As soon as you expose something outside of the class,…

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What Makes a Good API?

Background My position at work allows me a bit of freedom in how I code and more importantly, influence how others code. I was recently having a conversation with a colleague about what I think makes a good API, from a high level. The context of our discussion was pertaining to developing a C# based API, but this really applies to any object oriented API. I had two key points that I wanted to address, and while they're not the only important things, I believe they're often overlooked. The first thing is how people will use your API, so how they will call methods and use the results. The second point was about how people will implement your API should they want to extend your work and implement their own classes. Here's what I was trying to drive home:   Usage: As a programmer,…

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