Hello all,

I personally don't like "Friend" APIs, as really I like the idea of an open, extensible IDE.

From my point of view, Friend APIs make it difficult or impossible to extend NetBeans for personal use: - You have to ask for being added to the friends list. This is especially a problem, if You want to implement some private-use feature, e.g. for Your employer. - Alternatively You could depend on the implementation version; but I don't see how to do that, if You're using Maven. - Third possibility is just patching the modules to remove the friends and make the API public - very ugly, and You have to do it after every update.

OTOH, having a friends-only API leads to fewer dependencies on the API, thus less impact from changes to the API, which makes work easier for the developers, of course.

However, if an API isn't stable, yet, it could also just be flagged as "Under Development", thus telling users of those, that it is subject to change. Also, as it is possible to use default methods in interfaces from Java 8, it should be less of a problem to extend an existing API. But You can use the API on Your own risk without any conflicts.

An exception of course is having APIs only for modularity, if classes are spread over different modules and need an API to interact with each other. In this case the API's purpose is not to integrate extensions, but to split responsibilities - in this case I fully agree these are not for public use.

I'd be interested in comments on this - so, what do You think?

Kind regards

Peter

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