Lifting the restriction on the number of public classes per file

John Rose john.r.rose at
Tue Nov 27 02:04:01 UTC 2018

On Nov 26, 2018, at 11:43 AM, Kevin Bourrillion <kevinb at> wrote:
> Multiple top-level classes per file just make code harder to find; what are the advantages?

I suppose the main advantage (as suggested in the examples) would be
flexibility of naming.  With inner classes your names are pkg.NH.{A,B,C…},
where the outer class NH serves as nest host and also scope.  With the
proposal the names could also be pkg.{A,B,C…}, with a common nesthost
(A or NH).

In source code the simple names can be obtained by using an import
which mentions NH:  `` import pkg.NH.* ``.  So there's no great source-level
advantage to having the top-level names (package members) instead
of the nested names (class members).  Maybe there's some advantage
in having reflection avoid mention the "NH$"?

The hardest downside to the proposal is that IDEs and some javac
compilation modes (source-paths) don't know where to look for a file
containing pkg.A, if the classfile pkg/A.class has not yet been generated.

I suppose one answer to that is, "the source path mode doesn't work on
such top-level auxiliary nest membrers".  And IDEs have to sniff at
a little more carefully to determine if contains extra definitions.
But these issues already exist and have a user model, right?

On the whole, I don't see a big downside, but neither do I see a killer
use case for pkg.A that isn't covered by pkg.NH.A.

— John
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