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What you've got here is a different kind of tradeoff.

Normally, libraries are written under the assumption that clients cannot be modified or updated when the library changes. This brings in the concept of a breaking change, and a set of design constraints for versioning. For example, modifying interfaces becomes verboten, final methods start becoming preferable to virtual methods, implementation detail classes require decreased visibility, etc.

The advantage is that library producers are decoupled from consumers. Ideally the library is developed with care, breaking changes between major versions are minimized, and breakage due to implementation changes are minimal owing to lack of scope (literally) for clients to depend on implementation details.

But under the model you describe, you're leveraging the Theory of the Firm as much as possible - specifically, reducing the transaction costs of potentially updating clients of libraries simultaneously with the library itself.

The downside is the risk of unnecessary coupling between clients and libraries - the costs of a breaking change aren't so severe, so the incentive to avoid them is lessened, and so the abstraction boundaries between libraries is weakened. If the quality of engineers isn't kept high, or they don't know enough about how and why to minimize coupling, there's a risk of a kind of sclerosis that increases costs of change anyway.




The risk you describe is a real risk. But we mitigate it at google with strong code review and high bars for our our core libraries teams.

All of our core libs are owned by a team and you can't make changes to them without permission and a thorough code review. Our perforce infrastructure allows us to prevent submits that don't meet this criteria so we get the benefits of ownership only we use ACL's instead of seperate repo's. It has so far worked very well for us.




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