[swift-evolution] Generic types―covariance/contravariance

Robert Widmann devteam.codafi at gmail.com
Fri Dec 9 12:41:45 CST 2016

I keep seeing collections brought up whenever this is discussed, so my question is: Have you found a broader use for variance annotations in the Swift you write?  Even in Objective-C (perhaps due to their relative obscurity) I don't see (non-Foundation) people make use of the variance annotations for generic classes, so it makes me think we could just implement this as an extension to the collection casting machinery instead of exposing a Scala-esque variance notation.  Sort of like how it was done before when subtyping was introduced for function types around 2.x IIRC.

~Robert Widmann

2016/12/08 19:45、Braeden Profile via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> のメッセージ:

> Has the core team or the community considered the possibility of implementing covariant/contravariant generic types?  It would really be appreciated.
> I know with Array, vague-ifying or specific-ifying the type ([Int] to [Any]) has help from the compiler―and we can use `map` if all else fails―but that only lessens the impact of the missing functionality.  This is my exact use case here, using SceneKit to identify the first-hit Controller object:
> class ControllerNode<Controller: AnyObject>: SCNNode
> {
> 	let controller: Controller
> }
> // Ordered front to back, returns the first Controller object.
> for hit in hitTest
> {
> 	// Determine if this node is part of a controller.
> 	let ancestrySequence = sequence(first: hit.node, next: { $0.parent })
> 	let lastControllerNode: ControllerNode<AnyObject>? = ancestrySequence.reduce(nil)
> 		{ ($1 as? ControllerNode) ?? $0 }
> 	if let cabinet = lastControllerNode?.controller as? CabinetController
> 		{ return cabinet }
> 	if let wall = lastControllerNode?.controller as? WallController
> 		{ return wall }
> }
> This compiles, but unfortunately, this will never work.  The `reduce` algorithm always ends up trying to convert things like `ControllerNode<WallController> as ControllerNode<AnyObject>`, which―unintuitively―always fails.  Without compiler help, so would things like `myIntArray as [Any]` or `Optional<Boy>(Boy()) as Optional<Human>`.
> If Swift is supposed to welcome generic programming, this would be a great thing to have.
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