[swift-evolution] [Idea] Syntactic sugar for using methods as functions

Manuel Krebber admin at wheerd.de
Mon Jun 27 05:00:54 CDT 2016

Hi everyone,

I was thinking it would be nice to have a similar short notation for
using methods in a functional way as there is for enum cases (and as
I've been told static members in general).
Let me give a rather contrived example:

struct Foo {
    let bar: Int

    func getBar() -> Int {
        return self.bar


let foos = [Foo(bar: 1), Foo(bar: 2), Foo(bar: 3)]
let bars = foos.map{ $0.getBar() }

What I am suggesting is to add syntactic sugar to bridge the gap between
functional and object oriented programming. So instead you could write
the following:

let bars = foos.map(.getBar)

While for parameterless functions this might not seem like much of an
improvement, I think it helps when there are parameters involved:

struct Foo {
    let bar: Int
    func combine(other: Foo) -> Foo {
        return Foo(bar: other.bar + self.bar)

let foos = [Foo(bar: 5), Foo(bar: 6), Foo(bar: 1)]
let reduced = foos.reduce(Foo(bar: 0)) { $0.combine(other: $1) }

Which could become:

let reduced = foos.reduce(Foo(bar: 0), .combine)

This would also enable easier usage of custom operators for partial
functions etc. on these methods.

Basically whenever there is a parameter type (T, ...) -> U somewhere,
one could write the prefix dot shortcut and the compiler would look for
a method in type T with a signature (...) -> U and wrap the call to the
method in a closure. In case that no such method can be found or it
cannot be uniquely determined, it will result in a compile time error.

This is just an idea though. Do you think this would be useful? I could
see it help libraries like the Dollar library. It could then be used in
both functional and object oriented ways, since most functions could
become methods while maintaining a short syntax.

Kind regards, Manuel

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