Why should you use private outlets by default?

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Access control is very powerful concept in object oriented programming language. Access control helps prevent you from using objects in ways they were not intended to be used. Access control lets you carefully control what properties and methods an entity exposes. The reason is to build higher levels of abstraction. A programmer should never need to look at the private details of a class, module or function. They should be able to read the public interface and its documentation and just use it.

We all agree that access control is important but when comes to outlets we are using default protection level. We have a tendency to overlook outlet’s access control as Xcode generates them.

The default access or protection lever is internal access. Internal access enables entities to be used within any source file from their defining module, but not in any source file outside of that module. When you create an outlet by doing control + drag from the interface to the related source file, default access level outlet will be created by XCode.

I have started using private outlets, not for a long. There are a couple of benefits of using private outlets which seem very convincing to me. 

  1. The outlets should not be exposed if you are not using them from other objects. It will help you to write and understand the concept of modular code. 
  2. If you use private outlets then the compiler fires an error when another thing wants to access an outlet of your view controller. The compiler will help you to manage access levels and throws errors in compile time.
  3. To keep each view controller somewhat atomic and to make complexity down, we should consider using methods and outlets private. We all know that view management should be isolated to the view controller, and this makes private outlets the sensible way to handle them.

✍️ Written by Ishtiak Ahmed

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