The following rules define a simple strategy for creating immutable objects.
- Don't provide "setter" methods - methods that modify fields or objects referred to by fields.
- Make all fields final and private.
- Don't allow subclasses to override methods. The simplest way to do this is to declare the class as final. A more sophisticated approach is to make the constructor private and construct instances in factory methods.
- If the instance fields include references to mutable objects, don't allow those objects to be changed:
- Don't provide methods that modify the mutable objects.
- Don't share references to the mutable objects. Never store references to external, mutable objects passed to the constructor; if necessary, create copies, and store references to the copies. Similarly, create copies of your internal mutable objects when necessary to avoid returning the originals in your methods.