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Algebraic Data Types

The enum concept is general enough to also support algebraic data types (ADTs) and their generalized version (GADTs). Here is an example how an Option type can be represented as an ADT:

enum Option[+T]:
  case Some(x: T)
  case None

This example introduces an Option enum with a covariant type parameter T consisting of two cases, Some and None. Some is parameterized with a value parameter x. It is a shorthand for writing a case class that extends Option. Since None is not parameterized, it is treated as a normal enum value.

The extends clauses that were omitted in the example above can also be given explicitly:

enum Option[+T]:
  case Some(x: T) extends Option[T]
  case None       extends Option[Nothing]

Note that the parent type of the None value is inferred as Option[Nothing]. Generally, all covariant type parameters of the enum class are minimized in a compiler-generated extends clause whereas all contravariant type parameters are maximized. If Option was non-variant, you would need to give the extends clause of None explicitly.

As for normal enum values, the cases of an enum are all defined in the enums companion object. So it's Option.Some and Option.None unless the definitions are "pulled out" with an import:

scala> Option.Some("hello")
val res1: t2.Option[String] = Some(hello)

scala> Option.None
val res2: t2.Option[Nothing] = None

Note that the type of the expressions above is always Option. Generally, the type of a enum case constructor application will be widened to the underlying enum type, unless a more specific type is expected. This is a subtle difference with respect to normal case classes. The classes making up the cases do exist, and can be unveiled, either by constructing them directly with a new, or by explicitly providing an expected type.

scala> new Option.Some(2)
val res3: Option.Some[Int] = Some(2)
scala> val x: Option.Some[Int] = Option.Some(3)
val res4: Option.Some[Int] = Some(3)

As all other enums, ADTs can define methods. For instance, here is Option again, with an isDefined method and an Option(...) constructor in its companion object.

enum Option[+T]:
  case Some(x: T)
  case None

  def isDefined: Boolean = this match
    case None => false
    case _    => true

object Option:

  def apply[T >: Null](x: T): Option[T] =
    if x == null then None else Some(x)

end Option

Enumerations and ADTs have been presented as two different concepts. But since they share the same syntactic construct, they can be seen simply as two ends of a spectrum and it is perfectly possible to construct hybrids. For instance, the code below gives an implementation of Color either with three enum values or with a parameterized case that takes an RGB value.

enum Color(val rgb: Int):
  case Red   extends Color(0xFF0000)
  case Green extends Color(0x00FF00)
  case Blue  extends Color(0x0000FF)
  case Mix(mix: Int) extends Color(mix)

Parameter Variance of Enums

By default, parameterized cases of enums with type parameters will copy the type parameters of their parent, along with any variance notations. As usual, it is important to use type parameters carefully when they are variant, as shown below:

The following View enum has a contravariant type parameter T and a single case Refl, representing a function mapping a type T to itself:

enum View[-T]:
  case Refl(f: T => T)

The definition of Refl is incorrect, as it uses contravariant type T in the covariant result position of a function type, leading to the following error:

-- Error: View.scala:2:12 --------
2 |   case Refl(f: T => T)
  |             ^^^^^^^^^
  |contravariant type T occurs in covariant position in type T => T of value f
  |enum case Refl requires explicit declaration of type T to resolve this issue.

Because Refl does not declare explicit parameters, it looks to the compiler like the following:

enum View[-T]:
  case Refl[/*synthetic*/-T1](f: T1 => T1) extends View[T1]

The compiler has inferred for Refl the contravariant type parameter T1, following T in View. We can now clearly see that Refl needs to declare its own non-variant type parameter to correctly type f, and can remedy the error by the following change to Refl:

enum View[-T]:
-  case Refl(f: T => T)
+  case Refl[R](f: R => R) extends View[R]

Above, type R is chosen as the parameter for Refl to highlight that it has a different meaning to type T in View, but any name will do.

After some further changes, a more complete implementation of View can be given as follows and be used as the function type T => U:

enum View[-T, +U] extends (T => U):
  case Refl[R](f: R => R) extends View[R, R]

  final def apply(t: T): U = this match
    case refl: Refl[r] => refl.f(t)

Syntax of Enums

Changes to the syntax fall in two categories: enum definitions and cases inside enums. The changes are specified below as deltas with respect to the Scala syntax given here

  1. Enum definitions are defined as follows:

    TmplDef   ::=  `enum' EnumDef
    EnumDef   ::=  id ClassConstr [`extends' [ConstrApps]] EnumBody
    EnumBody  ::=  [nl] ‘{’ [SelfType] EnumStat {semi EnumStat} ‘}’
    EnumStat  ::=  TemplateStat
                |  {Annotation [nl]} {Modifier} EnumCase
  2. Cases of enums are defined as follows:

    EnumCase  ::=  `case' (id ClassConstr [`extends' ConstrApps]] | ids)


For more information, see Issue #1970.