Does an unadvertised extension point even exist?

There was an extension point, but I missed it.

I was adding functionality to a class. I needed to add something that seemed a little different, but not too far afield, from what the existing code was doing. So I came up with a good name, wrote a method, and went about my day.

A few weeks later, trying to understand an obscure path through this particular class, I found the extension point I should have been using. On one hand, eureka! On the other hand, why didn’t I notice this in the first place?

Did I not consider the open/closed principle enough? Perhaps my “modification” sense should have tingled, sending me to create a new object to encapsulate the behavior with.

Was the extension point hidden by indirection? Perhaps the change going into an ActiveRecord model through me off; I was doing as you’d normally do in a model. I wasn’t expecting another layer of abstraction.

Were my changes too scattered amongst many files? I had modifications in a half-dozen files, plus their tests. It’s possible I was juggling too many things.

Probably it’s all of these things. Lesson learned: when I get to feeling clever and add a handy extension point to make the next person’s job easier, advertise that extension point and make it clear this is probably where they want to make their change.

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