Discussions about modularity are recurrent. Some people say that each function should be a separate module/file/package; others say that methods should be contained by a package and grouped by similarity/concerns; and there is still a 3rd group that thinks that a single namespace is the way to go. I will try to explain the design decisions that influenced the creation and current structure of moutjs and why single function packages are not always the best solution.
This post is about a very simple thing that I’ve been doing since I started to code (by coincidence) and that I feel that increases a lot the readability and organization of my code. Some people may not agree with it but for me it makes total sense and was also documented by some experienced developers like Uncle Bob on his great book Clean Code. I tend to think that a single approach may not be the best one for everybody - since every person thinks on a different way - but I’m pretty confident that this advise will be good to a lot of people and that it will increase the overall quality of the code.
The rule is simple, split larger functions/classes into smaller specialized ones, period. It will not only increase the readability but it will also make the code more reusable since it will be easier to override the default behavior if needed (especially if extending a class or reusing a 3rd party lib). I will try to explain how and give a basic example.
When I released JS-Signals I decided to create a document explaining the difference between different kinds of Observers and the possible pros and cons of each pattern, and as you can see on the document every approach has its pros/cons and depending on the scenario the recommended approach might change.
Before coding JS-Signals I was using a very basic EventEmitter “class” that could be used to listen/dispatch arbitrary events but ever since I released JS-Signals I almost didn’t used arbitrary events anymore (because of the benefits of using a Signal), but a couple weeks ago I had to propagate changes on my model classes to the UI and the changes are coming from many different inputs, so the easiest way to keep everything in sync was to dispatch events every time my model objects updated with a new value. In that case it is way easier to use a string ID for the event type than to create a new Signal object manually for each value, since the project was already using Signals everywhere I decided to code a simple EventEmitter that would use JS-Signals internal mechanism (so I could use the advanced features if needed) but still allow arbitrary event types.
(not sure if the pirate image + caption was created by Zeh Fernando, he sent it to me a couple years ago, forgot to ask him…)
Not so long ago I had an opposite opinion about this subject - I would always set everything to private and only changed to protected/public if needed - try to understand what made me change my opinion and pay attention every time you find yourself “tied” or doing lots of hacks just because you can’t monkey-patch a simple function/variable.
Last week I released a new version of js-signals, I usually avoid creating posts at each release since I think people can simply watch the project on Github or are already following me on twitter (and I always send a twit after each release) but I added a few “advanced” features that may be useful on specific cases, that’s why I decided to create a post about it, I think some explanation may help people identify good use cases for those features.