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From "Uwe Schindler" <>
Subject RE: BytesRef violates the principle of least astonishment
Date Wed, 20 May 2015 14:24:14 GMT

> > BytesRef#clone()'s javadoc comment says that the result will be a
> > shallow clone, sharing the backing array with the original instance,
> > and points to another utility method for deep cloning:
> BytesRef#deepCopyOf(BytesRef).
> There is no hard contract for clone
> 28%29
> but the convention, as stated, is "the object returned by this method should
> be independent of this object". That whole section of the Oracle's JavaDocs
> describes the exact opposite of BytesRef clone behaviour.

If you say this, then this constraint would not even be held on the lowest level inside the
JDK (arrays, collections)! If you have the following:

Object[] array
List<Object> list

And you call:

array2 = Array.clone();
list2 = list.clone();

Both is also shallow! So how is this different?

In fact, the new array and the new list are independent, but this only says something about
the instance itself (they are really independent, because they are 2 different instances,
just containing the same data or references). If both refer via references to the same things,
this is (in my opinion) not covered by "be independent of this object".

BytesRef is not different, because it is just a "reference" to pass around. And cloning a
reference for sure should not clone the target of the reference. You are "cloning" the reference
and only that (as the name of the class says: Bytes*Ref*)!


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