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From Bill Burcham <bburc...@pivotal.io>
Subject Re: Unnecessary uses of final on local variables
Date Wed, 19 Jun 2019 18:23:13 GMT
-1 to the proposal as I understand it:

Premise:

a. Because the "final" modifier on local variables serves no function other
than to inform compiler optimization and…

b. because the compiler can tell if a variable is "effectively final"
without an explicit "final" modifier in the source code

Conclusion:

• The "final" modifier is just "noise" in the source code, so…

Ramifications:

1. Do not use the "final" modifier on local variables.

2. By extension, it would be not just ok, but in fact a positive change, to
_remove_ the "final" keyword from local variables, because it is just noise.

3. I believe the proposal should be interpreted to apply to method
parameters as well—not just local variables. (Local variables includes loop
variables when using for-each syntax—those can potentially be declared
"final" just like any other local variable).


I am thumbs-down on the proposal, first, because I believe the premise of
the proposal is flawed. If the only value of the "final" modifier on
storage was compile-time optimization then my view might be different. The
fact is that the "final" modifier on a variable (or for-each loop variable)
or method parameter declaration expresses the developer's intention that
the value not be modified after initialization. Any violation of that
intention will be flagged and rejected by the compiler. As such, the
"final" modifier on variable and method parameter declarations is part of
our arsenal of Java language constructs, such as types (including generic
types), that let us express our intentions to the compiler.

Lurking in the proposal is a danger (ramification (2)): that some of us
will think it's not only ok, but an _improvement_ to actively _remove_
final modifiers from local variable declarations, parameter declarations
and for-each loop variable declarations. This lurking danger is a clear and
present threat which I feel requires urgent consensus.

I, for one, put "final" where I mean to put "final". I shouldn't have to
monitor every single PR to ensure my finals aren't removed as noise—any
more than I should have to monitor PRs to ensure folks aren't turning
List<String> back into (pre-generic) List.

Can we at least agree to this:

• when we encounter a final local variable, method parameter, or for-each
loop variable declaration, we agree to _not_ remove the final modifier
unless we have to

And by "have to", I mean, we actually need to mutate the variable to make
the code work. Any aesthetic concern about "final" being "noise" would not
count here.

-Bill

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