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A Tour of Scala: Views

Implicit parameters and methods can also define implicit conversions called views. A view from type S to type Tis defined by an implicit value which has function type S => T, or by a method convertible to a value of that type.

Views are applied in two situations:

  • If an expression e is of type T, and T does not conform to the expression's expected type pt.
  • In a selection e.m with e of type T, if the selector m does not denote a member of T.

In the first case, a view v is searched which is applicable to e and whose result type conforms to pt. In the second case, a view v is searched which is applicable to e and whose result contains a member named m.

The following operation on the two lists xs and ys of type List[Int] is legal:

    xs <= ys

assuming the implicit methods list2ordered and int2ordered defined below are in scope:

    implicit def list2ordered[A](x: List[A])
        (implicit elem2ordered: a => Ordered[A]): Ordered[List[A]] =
      new Ordered[List[A]] { /* .. */ }

    implicit def int2ordered(x: Int): Ordered[Int] = 
      new Ordered[Int] { /* .. */ }

The list2ordered function can also be expressed witht he use of a view bound for a type parameter:

    implicit def list2ordered[A <% Ordered[A]](x: List[A]): Ordered[List[A]] = ...

The Scala compiler then generates code equivalent to the definition of list2ordered given above.

The implicitly imported object scala.Predef declares several predefined types (e.g. Pair) and methods (e.g.error) but also several views. The following example gives an idea of the predefined view charWrapper:

    final class RichChar(c: Char) {
      def isDigit: Boolean = Character.isDigit(c)
      // isLetter, isWhitespace, etc.
    object RichCharTest {
      implicit def charWrapper(c: char) = new RichChar(c)
      def main(args: Array[String]) {


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