Toxic Elephant

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No-one understands SemVer

Posted by matijs 25/07/2018 at 06h59

I started reading this, and came upon this line:

Many people claim to know how SemVer works, but have never read the specification.

And I thought: Yes! This is exactly the problem. Everyone talks about SemVer, but no-one reads the specification, so the discussions don’t make sense. Finally, someone is going to Make Things Clear!

And then I read this:

Note: Stop trying to justify your refactoring with the “public but internal” argument. If the language spec says it’s public, it’s public. Your intentions have nothing to do with it.

What!? This person complains about people not reading the specifications, and then proceeds to contradict the very first article of the SemVer specification? Here it is (highlight mine):

Software using Semantic Versioning MUST declare a public API. This API could be declared in the code itself or exist strictly in documentation. However it is done, it should be precise and comprehensive.

Whether the language spec says it’s public has little to do with it.

Now, there’s a discussion going on on Hacker News about this article, and clearly I’m not the only one bothered by the quote above, but the commenters are focused on whether languages allow you to control what part of your API is exposed, rather than what the SemVer spec actually says.

No-one understands SemVer.

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