Last modified on 19 November 2013, at 17:06

Scala/Closures

Automatic Type-Dependent Closure Construction

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Scala allows parameterless function names as parameters of methods. When such a method is called, the actual parameters
for parameterless function names are not evaluated and a nullary function is passed instead which encapsulates the computation
of the corresponding parameter (so-called call-by-name evalutation).
The following code demonstrates this mechanism:
object TargetTest1 extends App {
  def whileLoop(cond: => Boolean)(body: => Unit): Unit =
    if (cond) {
      body
      whileLoop(cond)(body)
    }
  var i = 10
  whileLoop (i > 0) {
    println(i)
    i -= 1
  }
}
The function whileLoop takes two parameters cond and body. When the function is applied,
the actual parameters do not get evaluated. But whenever the formal parameters are used in the body of whileLoop,
the implicitly created nullary functions will be evaluated instead. Thus, our method whileLoop implements a Java-like
while-loop with a recursive implementation scheme.
We can combine the use of infix/postfix operators with this mechanism to create more complex
statements (with a nice syntax).
Here is the implementation of a loop-unless statement:
object TargetTest2 extends App {
  def loop(body: => Unit): LoopUnlessCond =
    new LoopUnlessCond(body)
  protected class LoopUnlessCond(body: => Unit) {
    def unless(cond: => Boolean) {
      body
      if (!cond) unless(cond)
    }
  }
  var i = 10
  loop {
    println("i = " + i)
    i -= 1
  } unless (i == 0)
}
The loop function just accepts a body of a loop and returns an instance of class LoopUnlessCond (which encapsulates this body object). Note that the body didn’t get evaluated yet. Class LoopUnlessCond has a method unless which
we can use as a infix operator. This way, we achieve a quite natural syntax for our new loop: loop { < stats > } unless ( < cond > ).
Here’s the output when TargetTest2 gets executed:
i = 10
i = 9
i = 8
i = 7
i = 6
i = 5
i = 4
i = 3
i = 2
i = 1
From:
http://docs.scala-lang.org/tutorials/tour/automatic-closures.html