[swift-evolution] [draft] Add last(where:) and lastIndex(where:) Methods

Adrian Zubarev adrian.zubarev at devandartist.com
Mon Nov 27 12:30:39 CST 2017

I like it, but only if the API is symmetric. However this would require the break existing API to make `firstIndex(where/of:)`. 

One question:

Can we maybe add retroactively an extra parameter with a default value?

Something like: `func index(where predicate: (Element) throws -> Bool, traverseDirection: TraverseDirection = .leftToRight)`

However this comes at a cost of loosing the trailing closure :/

Am 27. November 2017 um 17:31:19, Nate Cook via swift-evolution (swift-evolution at swift.org) schrieb:

Hello, Swift Evolution!

This is a revision of a previous proposal for adding methods to sequences/collections for searching from the end. Feedback welcome!



Add last(where:) and lastIndex(where:) Methods
Proposal: SE-NNNN
Author: Nate Cook
Status: Awaiting review
Review manager: TBD
Implementation: Branch on natecook1000/swift
Related Bug: [SR-1504] RFE: index(of:) but starting from end
The standard library should include methods for finding the last element in a sequence, and the index of the last element in a collection, that match a given predicate.

Swift-evolution thread: [swift-evolution] (Draft) Add last(where:) and lastIndex(where:) methods
The standard library currently has methods that perform a linear search to find an element or the index of an element that matches a predicate:

let a = [20, 30, 10, 40, 20, 30, 10, 40, 20]
a.first(where: { $0 > 25 })         // 30
a.index(where: { $0 > 25 })         // 1
a.index(of: 10)                     // 2
Unfortunately, there are no such methods that search from the end. Finding the last of a particular kind of element has multiple applications, particularly with text, such as wrapping a long string into lines of a maximum length or trimming whitespace from the beginning and end of a string.

You can work around this limitation by using the methods above on a reversed view of a collection, but the resulting code is frankly appalling. For example, to find the corresponding last index to a.index(where: { $0 > 25 }), something like this unholy incantation is required:

(a.reversed().index(where: { $0 > 25 })?.base).map({ a.index(before: $0) })
Proposed solution
The Sequence protocol should add a last(where:) method, and the Collectionprotocol should add lastIndex(where:) and lastIndex(of:) methods. These new methods create symmetry with the existing forward-searching APIs that are already part of Sequence and Collection.

These additions remove the need for searching in a reversed collection and allow code like this:

a.last(where: { $0 > 25 })          // 40
a.lastIndex(where: { $0 > 25 })     // 7
a.lastIndex(of: 10)                 // 6
Much better!

Detailed design
last(where:) and lastIndex(where:) will be added to the standard library as Sequence and Collection protocol requirements, respectively. These methods will have default implementations in their respective protocols and in BidirectionalCollection, which can provide a more efficient implementation. lastIndex(of:) will be provided in Collection and BidirectionalCollection extensions constrained to Equatable elements. 

The new APIs are shown here:

protocol Sequence {
    // Existing declarations...

    /// Returns the last element of the collection that satisfies the given
    /// predicate, or `nil` if no element does. The sequence must be finite.
    func last(where predicate: (Element) throws -> Bool)  
        rethrows -> Element?

protocol Collection {
    // Existing declarations...
    /// Returns the index of the last element of the collection that satisfies  
    /// the given predicate, or `nil` if no element does.
    func lastIndex(where predicate: (Element) throws -> Bool)  
        rethrows -> Index?  

extension BidirectionalCollection {
    func last(where predicate: (Element) throws -> Bool)  
        rethrows -> Element? { ... }

    func lastIndex(where predicate: (Element) throws -> Bool)  
        rethrows -> Index? { ... }

extension Collection where Element: Equatable {
    /// Returns the index of the last element equal to the given element, or  
    /// no matching element is found.
    func lastIndex(of element: Element) -> Index? { ... }

extension BidirectionalCollection where Element: Equatable {
    func lastIndex(of element: Element) -> Index? { ... }
You can explore the usage (but not really the performance) of these methods in this Swift sandbox.

Source compatibility
The addition of the last(where:), lastIndex(where:), and lastIndex(of:)methods is strictly additive and should have no impact on existing code.

Effect on ABI stability & API resilience
This change does not affect ABI stability or API resilience beyond the addition of the new methods.

Alternatives considered
A previous proposal limited the new methods to the BidirectionalCollection protocol. This isn't a necessary limitation, as the standard library already has methods on sequences and forward collections with the same performance characteristics. 

Another previous proposal included renaming index(of:) and index(where:) to firstIndex(of:) and firstIndex(where:), respectively. This version of the proposal removes that source-breaking change.

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