Removal of function types

Rémi Forax forax at
Thu Jul 8 13:52:52 PDT 2010

Le 08/07/2010 21:04, Reinier Zwitserloot a écrit :
> On Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 8:20 PM, Rémi Forax <forax at 
> <mailto:forax at>> wrote:
>     Function types have several advantages over SAMs.
>     (remember that to be useful SAMs must be generified, see my point
>     below).
>     - no need to be have to understand long error message because
>       you forget a ? extends or a ? super somewhere.
> I do not understand this complaint. type parameters are as much a part 
> of the abandoned function type concept as they are for SAM types. In 
> fact, function types use _MORE_ generics than SAM types; #int(String, 
> String) is translated to FunctionIOO<String, String> internally, which 
> is extra generics. This implementation detail leaks, for example 
> because an array of #int(String, String) types doesn't work very well, 
> whereas an array of a SAM type will work just fine. I expect that most 
> SAM types will have some type parameters of their own making this 
> point moot, but if either of these two proposals needs to be faulted 
> for causing confusion based around generics, shouldn't it be function 
> types?

I mean if function types are erased to java.dyn.MethodHandle.

>     - no need to box/unbox things.
> SAM fitting isn't "boxing" or "unboxing". Specifically, any lambda 
> literal is not first treated as an unnamed/untyped function, then 
> boxed into the appropriate SAM depending on how you use it. Instead, 
> the use site of the lambda literal is inspected to figure out what is 
> required, and the lambda literal is then read by the compiler with 
> this target type in mind. That's entirely different from 
> boxing/unboxing. The old function type based proposal that had the 
> ability to automatically box them into SAM types was appropriate usage 
> of the 'box' term I'd say, but this is quite different. For example, 
> by figuring out the target SAM type _before_ attempting to understand 
> the signature of the lambda literal, parameter types become optional.
>     - no need to find a creative name for a god damn function.
> Not sure if the hyperbole is warranted here. Names are a good thing 
> far more often than they are a bad thing. At least, it seems to be 
> that way if I look at Parallel Arrays, where, if we assume for a 
> moment the primitives-and-generics issue is fixed, there are 9 named 
> SAM types, which each can carry useful javadoc: Op, BinaryOp, Reducer, 
> Generator, Procedure, Comparator, Predicate, BinaryPredicate, and Action.
> I admit there are rare situations where naming the SAM type is 
> superfluous, but even in this situations, it's only a burden to the 
> library developer, not the user of the library. The word "Comparator" 
> can't be found anywhere in the following snippet:
> Collections.sort(stringList, {x, y -> x.length() - y.length()});

I don't follow you here. Usually, we use type at declaration site.

>     By example, you can count the number of filter/predicate SAM
>     you have in the JDK:
> And none of those can go away; java must remain backwards compatible. 
> It's absolutely true that these are a problem, but I don't see how you 
> can fault the SAM based proposal for these any more than you can the 
> strawman proposal. It was never the intention in the strawman proposal 
> that one could treat a javax.swing.RowFilter as a 
> A #boolean(T) might box to either depending on the circumstance, but I 
> don't see how that solves the problem of so many copies of filter.

My point is because we don't have function type, we (all of us) create 
SAMs that are incompatible
each others.  So we can't write reusable high order methods.

> Perhaps you meant that forcing to SAM type results in further 
> duplicates in the future. Maybe. But I can't think any other examples 
> of duplication other than Filter and Runnable / Executable. Once 
> predicates and ops arrive in rt.jar via either Parallel Arrays or new 
> filter and map methods for collections, I'd expect no further duplication.
> The same argument can also be used to call a Camera and a Gun not 
> being interoperable as problematic, as they both have a shoot() 
> method. It may be true that in practice Camera/Gun occurs less often 
> than 2 incompatible classes whose structure nevertheless does match, 
> which do represent the same semantical concept, but that's not how 
> java works today, and I rather doubt turning java into a structurally 
> typed language is in scope for project lambda, let alone desired.
>     JDK already contains bifurcations, it has more than 10 ways to
>     represent
>     a function that takes an object and returns a boolean.
> Yes. Let's not make it worse.
>     Function type can't be reified like SAMs can't be reified because
>     argument of type variable aren't available at runtime.
>     That's it.
> SAMs are already reified. I'm not sure what you mean when you say they 
> cannot be:
> Runnable r = {-> System.out.println("Hello, World!");}
> one can introspect at runtime that r's type is in fact "Runnable".

I think you have written something stupid :)

> --Reinier Zwitserloot


More information about the lambda-dev mailing list