Type details

This doc page is specific to features shipped in Scala 2, which have either been removed in Scala 3 or replaced by an alternative. Unless otherwise stated, all the code examples in this page assume you are using Scala 2.


Empty Type

The empty type (tq"") is a canonical way to say that the type at given location isn’t given by the user and should be inferred by the compiler:

  1. Method with unknown return type
  2. Val or Var with unknown type
  3. Anonymous function with unknown argument type

Type Identifier

Similarly to term identifiers one can construct a type identifier based on a name:

scala> val name = TypeName("Foo")
name: universe.TypeName = Foo

scala> val foo = tq"$name"
foo: universe.Ident = Foo

And deconstruct it back through unlifting:

scala> val tq"${name: TypeName}" = tq"Foo"
name: universe.TypeName = Foo

It is recommended to always ascribe the name as TypeName when you work with type identifiers. A non-ascribed pattern is equivalent to a pattern variable binding.

Singleton Type

A singleton type is a way to express a type of term definition that is being referenced:

scala> val singleton = tq"foo.bar.type".sr
singleton: String = SingletonTypeTree(Select(Ident(TermName("foo")), TermName("bar")))

scala> val tq"$ref.type" = tq"foo.bar.type"
ref: universe.Tree = foo.bar

Type Projection

Type projection is a fundamental way to select types as members of other types:

scala> val proj = tq"Foo#Bar"
proj: universe.SelectFromTypeTree = Foo#Bar

scala> val tq"$foo#$bar" = proj
foo: universe.Tree = Foo
bar: universe.TypeName = Bar

Similarly to identifiers, it's recommended to always ascribe the name as TypeName. Non-ascribed matching behaviour might change in the future.

As a convenience one can also select type members of terms:

scala> val int = tq"scala.Int"
int: universe.Select = scala.Int

scala> val tq"scala.$name" = int
name: universe.TypeName = Int

But semantically, such selections are just a shortcut for a combination of singleton types and type projections:

scala> val projected = tq"scala.type#Int"
projected: universe.SelectFromTypeTree = scala.type#Int

Lastly and similarly to expressions one can select members through super and this:

scala> val superbar = tq"super.Bar"
superbar: universe.Select = super.Bar

scala> val tq"$pre.super[$parent].$field" = superbar
pre: universe.TypeName =
parent: universe.TypeName =
field: universe.Name = Bar

scala> val thisfoo = tq"this.Foo"
thisfoo: universe.Select = this.Foo

scala> val tq"this.${tpname: TypeName}" = thisfoo
tpname: universe.TypeName = Foo

Applied Type

Instantiations of parameterized types can be expressed with the help of applied types (type-level equivalent of type application):

scala> val applied = tq"Foo[A, B]"
applied: universe.Tree = Foo[A, B]

scala> val tq"Foo[..$targs]" = applied
targs: List[universe.Tree] = List(A, B)

Deconstruction of non-applied types will cause targs to be extracted as an empty list:

scala> val tq"Foo[..$targs]" = tq"Foo"
targs: List[universe.Tree] = List()

Annotated Type

Similarly to expressions, types can be annotated:

scala> val annotated = tq"T @Fooable"
annotated: universe.Annotated = T @Fooable

scala> val tq"$tpt @$annot" = annotated
tpt: universe.Tree = T
annot: universe.Tree = Fooable

Compound Type

A compound type lets users express a combination of a number of types with an optional refined member list:

scala> val compound = tq"A with B with C"
compound: universe.CompoundTypeTree = A with B with C

scala> val tq"..$parents { ..$defns }" = compound
parents: List[universe.Tree] = List(A, B, C)
defns: List[universe.Tree] = List()

Braces after parents are required to signal that this type is a compound type, even if there are no refinements, and we just want to extract a sequence of types combined with the with keyword.

On the other side of the spectrum are pure refinements without explicit parents (a.k.a. structural types):

scala> val structural = tq"{ val x: Int; val y: Int }"
structural: universe.CompoundTypeTree =
scala.AnyRef {
  val x: Int;
  val y: Int

scala> val tq"{ ..$defns }" = structural
defns: List[universe.Tree] = List(val x: Int, val y: Int)

Here we can see that AnyRef is a parent that is inserted implicitly if we don’t provide any.

Existential Type

Existential types consist of a type tree and a list of definitions:

scala> val tq"$tpt forSome { ..$defns }" = tq"List[T] forSome { type T }"
tpt: universe.Tree = List[T]
defns: List[universe.MemberDef] = List(type T)

Alternatively there is also an underscore notation:

scala> val tq"$tpt forSome { ..$defns }" = tq"List[_]"
tpt: universe.Tree = List[_$1]
defns: List[universe.MemberDef] = List(<synthetic> type _$1)

Tuple Type

Similar to expressions, tuple types are just syntactic sugar over TupleN classes:

scala> val tup2 = tq"(A, B)"
tup2: universe.Tree = scala.Tuple2[A, B]

scala> val tq"(..$tpts)" = tup2
tpts: List[universe.Tree] = List(A, B)

Analogously the Unit type is considered to be a nullary tuple:

scala> val tq"(..$tpts)" = tq"_root_.scala.Unit"
tpts: List[universe.Tree] = List()

It is important to mention that pattern matching a reference to Unit is limited to either fully the qualified path or a reference that contains symbols. (see hygiene)

Function Type

Similar to tuples, function types are syntactic sugar over FunctionN classes:

scala> val funtype = tq"(A, B) => C"
funtype: universe.Tree = _root_.scala.Function2[A, B, C]

scala> val tq"..$foo => $bar" = funtype
foo: List[universe.Tree] = List(A, B)
bar: universe.Tree = C

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