Re: Fixing "typos" in enums...

Robert Klemme <>
Fri, 15 Nov 2013 20:10:42 +0100
On 15.11.2013 17:25, Andreas Leitgeb wrote:

Let's assume, some non native English speaker writes up
a library, that's really useful and gaining broader use.

Eventually this misspelling goes into an enum constant,
and by the time the first user reports it, the library
is already too much in use to lightheartedly apply
Plan "A" (namely fixing the typo and thereby inducing a
compatibility issue)

Now, Plan B could be to rename the enum constant, but add
a public static field by the old bad name (initialized
with the reference to the spelling-corrected field), to
alleviate the compatibility issue at least for those who
merely used the enum's field's name in their code.

  // public enum Foo { FURST, SECOND }
  public enum Foo { FIRST, SECOND; public static final FURST = FIRST; }

Any user having done a switch over that enum will still
need to modify his code. Ditto anyone doing string comparisons
on, but that is most probably a bad idea, anyway.

Not at all: a String could be read from some configuration file or
database and then the corresponding enum value searched via valueOf() or

Another issue: serialized values. You might be able to remedy that via
the deserialization callbacks. This is at least something that needs to
be checked.

Even if certain practices are "bad ideas": they are applied nevertheless.

PPS: a similar problem could arise with misspelled class names,
   but that's not currently in my focus.

A published API is basically set in stone. Keeping the wrong value
might actually be the best option.



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