Name: The File/Stream Duality
Context: Your API retrieves data from, or writes data to a file
- The naive approach is to have the API take in a filename, or a File object to work on.
- Far too many developers believe this is sufficient
- Unless the file is random-access, then in order to read or write to that file, you're going to have to turn it into a byte stream.
- One day, somebody is going to have a stream of bytes that is not a file, but that they want to pass through your API.
- When that happens, this person will curse you, your parents, and the town you grew up in.
If you are writing an API that takes a filename, instead provide an API that does precisely the same thing to an arbitrary stream of bytes, and then add "convenience" methods that apply those stream-based methods to files.