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[CLJ-1381] Improve support for extending protocols to primitive arrays Created: 13/Mar/14  Updated: 10/Nov/17

Status: Reopened
Project: Clojure
Component/s: None
Affects Version/s: Release 1.5, Release 1.6
Fix Version/s: Release 1.10

Type: Enhancement Priority: Major
Reporter: Alex Miller Assignee: Unassigned
Resolution: Unresolved Votes: 8
Labels: protocols

Approval: Vetted


It is possible to extend protocols to primitive arrays but specifying the class for the type is a little tricky:

(defprotocol P (p [_]))
(extend-protocol P (Class/forName "[B") (p [_] "bytes"))
(p (byte-array 0))   ;; => "bytes"

However, things go bad if you try to do more than one of these:

(extend-protocol P 
  (Class/forName "[B") (p [_] "bytes")
  (Class/forName "[I") (p [_] "ints"))
CompilerException java.lang.UnsupportedOperationException: nth not supported on this type: Character, compiling:(NO_SOURCE_PATH:1:1)
	clojure.lang.Compiler.analyze (Compiler.java:6380)
	clojure.lang.Compiler.analyze (Compiler.java:6322)
	clojure.lang.Compiler$MapExpr.parse (Compiler.java:2879)
	clojure.lang.Compiler.analyze (Compiler.java:6369)
	clojure.lang.Compiler.analyze (Compiler.java:6322)
	clojure.lang.Compiler$InvokeExpr.parse (Compiler.java:3624)
	clojure.lang.Compiler.analyzeSeq (Compiler.java:6562)
	clojure.lang.Compiler.analyze (Compiler.java:6361)
	clojure.lang.Compiler.analyze (Compiler.java:6322)
	clojure.lang.Compiler$BodyExpr$Parser.parse (Compiler.java:5708)
	clojure.lang.Compiler$FnMethod.parse (Compiler.java:5139)
	clojure.lang.Compiler$FnExpr.parse (Compiler.java:3751)
Caused by:
UnsupportedOperationException nth not supported on this type: Character
	clojure.lang.RT.nthFrom (RT.java:857)
	clojure.lang.RT.nth (RT.java:807)
	clojure.core/emit-hinted-impl/hint--5951/fn--5953 (core_deftype.clj:758)
	clojure.core/map/fn--4207 (core.clj:2487)
	clojure.lang.LazySeq.sval (LazySeq.java:42)
	clojure.lang.LazySeq.seq (LazySeq.java:60)
	clojure.lang.RT.seq (RT.java:484)
	clojure.lang.RT.countFrom (RT.java:537)
	clojure.lang.RT.count (RT.java:530)
	clojure.lang.Cons.count (Cons.java:49)
	clojure.lang.Compiler.analyze (Compiler.java:6352)
	clojure.lang.Compiler.analyze (Compiler.java:6322)

The code in {parse-impls} is seeing the second {(Class/forName "[I")} as a function, not as a new type. One workaround for this is to only extend the protocol to one type at a time.

It would be even better (moving into enhancement area) if there was a syntax here to specify primitive array types - we already have the syntax of {bytes, ints, longs}, etc for type hints and those seem perfectly good to me.

Comment by Nahuel Greco [ 18/Sep/14 6:08 PM ]

It also breaks when extending only one array type:

(extend-protocol P
  String               (p [_] "string")
  (Class/forName "[B") (p [_] "ints") 

;=> CompilerException java.lang.UnsupportedOperationException: nth not supported on this type ...

But changing the declaration order fixes it:

(extend-protocol P
  (Class/forName "[B") (p [_] "ints") 
  String               (p [_] "string")

;=> OK
Comment by Alex Miller [ 12/Jan/16 3:16 PM ]

Dupe of CLJ-1790

Comment by Alex Miller [ 07/Jun/16 4:00 PM ]

On further inspection, I don't think this is a dupe of CLJ-1790 but merely a related problem.

Comment by Greg Chapman [ 18/Mar/17 11:04 AM ]

Using Class/forName has a further problem, as type-hints on the this parameter are longer emitted:

user=> (extend-protocol P (Class/forName "[B") (p [this] (aget this 0)))
Reflection warning, NO_SOURCE_PATH:2:50 - call to static method aget on clojure.lang.RT can't be resolved (argument types: unknown, int).

Reflection warnings are also generated for non-primitive arrays (so just supporting ints etc, won't completely fix this problem). It would be good to have a solution which covered all the problems with extending protocols to arrays.

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