I am in the process of developing an application that allows users to write C# scripts. These scripts allow users to call selected methods and to access and manipulate data in a document. This works well, however, in the development version, scripts access the document's (internal) data structures directly. This means that if we were to change the internal data model/structure, there is a good chance that someone's script will no longer compile. We obviously want to prevent this breaking change from happening, but still want to allow the user to write sensible C# code (whilst not restricting how we develop our internal data model as a result). We therefore need to decouple our scripting API and its data structures from our internal methods and data structures.
We've a few ideas as to how we might allow the user to access a what is effectively a stable public version of the document's internal data*, but I wanted to throw the question out there to someone who might have some real experience of this problem. NB our internal document's data structure is quite complex and it could be quite difficult to wrap. We know we want to expose as little as possible in our public API, especially as once it's out there, it's out there for good.
Can anyone help?
How do scripting languages / APIs decouple their public API and data structures from their internal data structures?
Is there no real alternative to having to write a complex interaction layer?
If we need to do this, what's a good approach or pattern for wrapping complex data structures that include nested objects, including collections? I've looked at the API facade pattern, which looks like it's trying to address these kinds of issues, but are there alternatives?
*One idea is to build a data facade that is kept stable across versions of our application. The facade exposes a set of facade data objects that are used in the script code. These maintain backwards compatibility and wrap access to our internal document's data model.