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[CLJ-1255] Support Abstract Base Classes with Java-only variant of "reify" Created: 06/Sep/13  Updated: 01/Jul/14

Status: Open
Project: Clojure
Component/s: None
Affects Version/s: Release 1.6
Fix Version/s: None

Type: Enhancement Priority: Major
Reporter: Mike Anderson Assignee: Unassigned
Resolution: Unresolved Votes: 9
Labels: interop

Approval: Triaged



  • Various Java APIs depend on extension of abstract base classes rather than interfaces
  • "proxy" has limitations (no access to protected fields or super)
  • "proxy" has performance overhead because of an extra layer of functions / parameter boxing etc.
  • "gen-class" is complex and is complected with compilation / bytecode generation

In summary: Clojure does not currently have a good / convenient way to extend a Java abstract base class dynamically.

The proposal is to create a variant of "reify" that allows the extension of a single abstract base class (optionally also with interfaces/protocols). Code generation would occur as if the abstract base class had been directly extended in Java (i.e. with full access to protected members and with fully type-hinted fields).

Since this is a JVM-only construct, it should not affect the portable extension methods in Clojure (deftype etc.). We propose that it is placed in an separate namespace that could become the home for other JVM-specific interop functionality, e.g. "clojure.java.interop"

Comment by Alex Miller [ 30/Jun/14 8:18 AM ]

From Rich: we do not want to support abstract classes in a portable construct (reify, deftype). However, this would be considered as a new Java-only construct (extend-class or reify-class). If you could modify the ticket appropriately, will move back to Triaged.

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