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From Sébastien Brisard <>
Subject Re: [math] Does this break the API?
Date Fri, 09 Mar 2012 08:58:35 GMT
Hi Jörg,
thanks for this detailed answer.

2012/3/9 Jörg Schaible <>:
> Hi Sébastian,
> Sébastien Brisard wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> I'm extremely unfamiliar with serialization and its many pitfalls, and
>> I would need advice from you wise guys ;-) !!!
>> Here is the thing. I'm currently working on MATH-761, where for the
>> sake of "efficiency" (which remains to be asserted [1]), I did some
>> bad choice on the structure of internal data. I'm willing to clean
>> this up. The way I see it at the moment, the nested class SymmLQ.State
>> will probably (probably) go, as it conveys a false sense of security
>> through encapsulation (not sure I'm very clear, there. In other words:
>> the code is difficult to read).
>> This class is private, so the public API would not be broken. However,
>> there is another nested class, namely SymmLQ.SymmLQEvent which
>> implements Serializable, and currently holds a reference to an
>> instance of State. So, I guess that if State disappears in 3.1, events
>> serialized with 3.0 could not be retrieved with CM v 3.1 (and
>> vice-versa). Would this be considered as a break of the API?
>> Sorry if this is a silly question, and thanks in advance for your help!
>> Best regards,
>> Sébastien
>> [1] Thinking about it a few months later, I now realize that my quest
>> for efficiency was actually completely flawed: I wanted to avoid the
>> creation of one small object at each iteration, while in the course of
>> this iteration, a matrix-vector product occurs, with presumably a very
>> (very) large matrix (since that's what iterative solvers do). So it is
>> very likely that the iterations are dominated by the product anyway,
>> unless the matrix is small, in which case a direct solver should be
>> preferred. Bad, bad, bad... I promise I won't do that again.
> In principal, yes, it breaks binary compatibility.
That's what I was afraid of...

> However, you can
> implement it in a binary compatible way. Note, that every time you modify
> the binary class layout, you also have to change the serialVersionUID
> (that's the reason why I take normally a value that reflects the date,
> today's choice would be 20120309L).
Yes, I forgot to mention that I would at the very least change this
uid. We actually agreed a few months ago to use this date convention
in CM as well (maybe it was you who suggested it in the first place, I
can't remember!).

> How to verify compatibility: Write a .ser file with the old version, add it
> in the head revision to src/test/data and write a new unit test that can
> load it as well as new ones. Look at the JDK docs how to write serialization
> functions to ensure compatibility. It might be necessary to keep State
> around for the time being although it is no longer used.
> commons-id has some test code that ensures that the binary class layout of a
> serializable object has not been changed.
It's good to know there is a way to do things properly, so I'll make
sure I look into that. However, following Luc's answer, maybe I'll
take the liberty *not* to follow these rules, if the implications are
too restrictive.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer this in detail, I'll make
good use of this answer!

> Cheers,
> Jörg
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