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Many types of change can be made to an object. In their simplest terms, these changes can be categorized into one of two groups.
Compatible updates. These updates are additive. All previously available interfaces remain intact.
Incompatible updates. These updates change the existing interface. Existing users of the interface can fail, or behave incorrectly.
The following table categorizes some common object changes.
Table 5-1 Examples of Interface Compatibility
Note - Because of interposition, the addition of a symbol can constitute an incompatible update. The new symbol might conflict with an applications use of that symbol. However, this form of incompatibility does seem rare in practice as source-level namespace management is commonly used.
Compatible updates can be accommodated by maintaining version definitions that are internal to the object being generated. Incompatible updates can be accommodated by producing a new object with a new external versioned name. Both of these versioning techniques enable the selective binding of applications. These techniques also enable verification of correct version binding at runtime. These two techniques are explored in more detail in the following sections.