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Re^3: Mutator chaining NOT considered harmful

by Ovid (Cardinal)
on Dec 30, 2004 at 03:36 UTC ( #418166=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^2: Mutator chaining considered harmful
in thread Mutator chaining considered harmful

Let's compare:

$window->title('foo')->border(20); # versus $window->set(title => 'foo', border => 20);

Clearly, I like method chaining. I use it frequently and my primary argument to people is also "don't use it if you don't want it." However I would never encourage method chaining if the mutator didn't return an object of the same class as the object that received the message (or maybe with an isa relationship and with constructors being a special case). That's just begging Demeter to beat you to death. However, when I look at your code, I see one great big "catch-all" mutator where now I no longer can merely validate the values, but I also have to validate the names of the attributes. It would be easy to type this:

$window->set(title => 'foo', border => 20);

Depending on how someone codes that, it could easily silently fail when a direct method call would not.

I suppose we could argue all day long about which technique is better, but both of our preferred styles have strengths and weaknesses. For now I'll continue to return $self and you can continue to ignore it :)


New address of my CGI Course.

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Re^4: Mutator chaining considered harmful
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Dec 30, 2004 at 04:08 UTC

    Assuming you aren't writing all of your separate setter/getters manually, which means you're doing some of the typical method generation or AUTOLOAD monkeying, then the separate setter/getters don't buy you a whole lot. I concede that they can make mistakes apparent a little sooner. It's not at all hard to write a unified setter in such a fashion that it blows up just as quickly, though — actually it's trivial enough that I'll bet money on getting it right the first time. Mostly because it's not a point I needed to be made aware of either; I already do that all the time.

    If you want me to ignore your chainable mutators, allow me to have a unified setter and I gleefully shall. :-)

    If you're writing code that uses (rather than provides) mutator chaining though, and I'm going to be maintaining it later, then I shall keep arguing. My experience so far has been frustrating enough, I'd really rather avoid more of that. :-(

    Makeshifts last the longest.

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