[swift-evolution] Proposal: CollectionType.cycle property for an infinite sequence

Kevin Ballard kevin at sb.org
Mon Dec 28 01:20:10 CST 2015

## Introduction

Add a new property `cycle` to CollectionType that returns an infinite SequenceType that yields the elements of the collection in a loop.

## Motivation

It's sometimes useful to be able to have an infinite sequence. For example, `CollectionOfOne(x).cycle` could be used to have an infinite sequence of a single element (similar to Repeat but without a count). A common use for infinite sequences is zipping with a finite sequence. As far as I'm aware, the stdlib does not currently provide any way to create such an infinite sequence.

## Proposed solution

Extend CollectionType with a new property `cycle` that yields a type that conforms to SequenceType. This sequence yields each element of the collection in an infinite loop.

## Detailed design

2 new types would be added:

struct CycleSequence<Base : CollectionType> : LazySequenceType { ... }
struct CycleGenerator<Base : CollectionType> : GeneratorType { ... }

CollectionType would be extended with a property:

extension CollectionType {
    public var cycle: CycleSequence<Self> { get }

This is an extension of CollectionType instead of SequenceType because it requires a multi-pass sequence (and SequenceType does not provide that guarantee). The returned type conforms to SequenceType instead of CollectionType because there is no possible `endIndex` that satisfies the requirement of being reachable from `startIndex` by zero or more applications of `successor()`.

Because the default eager versions of map and filter will execute forever on an infinite sequence, CycleSequence conforms to LazySequenceType instead of SequenceType in order to provide lazy versions of those functions. Additionally, it will provide implementations of the eager versions that simply trigger a fatalError(), as the alternative is an infinite loop that consumes more and more memory.

## Impact on existing code


-Kevin Ballard

More information about the swift-evolution mailing list