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Re: [equinox-dev] boolean properties etc

Makes sense to me.

Another possible advantage of enumerated attribute values is that there might be some cases where 'systemDefault' would be a good option,
so that some "meta data" could specify "use form=jar/dir unless otherwise specified".
I don't know if that particular example is valid, or how many cases this would be needed or make sense ... so, take with a grain of salt.
But, I've actually seen this anti-pattern? a lot with "user preferences" ... the intial tendancy is often to think of some user preference as "on or off" but 50% of the time
the next release reveals more cases ... "not specified by user" being an obvious third choice.

But, for manifests, couldn't "true/false" usually be deprecated, and future versions be spec'd as multivalued (and 'true', 'false' be assigned to one of the new states, for backward
compatibility?). But I do agree, its just more meaningful to spec what you mean :)

Jeff McAffer <Jeff_McAffer@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent by: equinox-dev-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx

09/28/2006 11:11 PM

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Equinox development mailing list <equinox-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx>

[equinox-dev] boolean properties etc

There have been several cases lately where we are being burned by having used boolean values for properties, headers, ...  In particular, things like

       Eclipse-LazyStart: true/false

are problematic for a few reasons.  

- First we seem to have this tendency to specify them in the negative.  For example unpack=false is the default way we want things.  That approach made sense in the context of the day but today it is just hard to deal with the double negative.  

- It is not always clear what the property is controlling.  unpack, for example, is somewhat cryptic.

- Perhaps the most interesting issue relates to extensibility.  Eclipse-LazyStart: true/false has only two possible values.  Recently there has been some discussion about adding an eager mode.  Ignoring the details of that request and assuming we did want this, with only true and false for Lazy start, we would have to add another header for eager mode.

An alternative would be to avoid headers, arguments, properties etc that have boolean values.  Instead of unpack = true/false, use something like form=jar/dir.  Eclipse-LazyStart would be something like Eclipse-BundleStart: lazy/manual/eager.  This approach is more extensible and seems easier to usnderstand. Note also that these headers can have additional information provided as attributes or directives in the standard OSGi manner.



p.s., note that this thinking should also be applied to any OSGi RFCs we put forward.
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