# [Kotlin] Operator overloading

### Introduction

Kotlin documentation said that if you define an `operator`

function `plus`

, you can use `+`

, *by convention*, to call
that function.

*Conventions* are not just for operators, you'll find them in Collections, Ranges, Destructuring Declaration and Invocation.

Let's see the details !!!

### Operator overloading

Kotlin allows us to overload some operators on any object we have created, or that we know of (through extensions).
The concept of operator overloading provides a way to invoke functions to perform arithmetic
operation, equality checks or comparison on whatever object we want, through symbols like `+`

, `-`

, `/`

, `*`

, `%`

,
`<`

, `>`

. But, obviously, those overloading should be defined when it make sense to use them.

For the following parts, let's assume we have the `data class`

:

```
data class Point(val x: Double, val y: Double)
```

#### Arithmetic operators

To overload the `+`

operator we need to implement the function `plus`

, with the keyword `operator`

. This function
takes one parameter of any kind, even it make sense in most cases to use the same type.

```
// Here how to provide `+` operator on our object Point
operator fun plus(p: Point) = Point(this.x + p.x, this.y + p.x)
// return type is inferred to Point
```

To go further we can apply all the following operator overloading on the object `Point`

.

expression | function called |
---|---|

p1 `+` p2 | p1.`plus` (p2) |

p1 `-` p2 | p1.`minus` (p2) |

p1 `*` p2 | p1.`times` (p2) |

p1 `/` p2 | p1.`div` (p2) |

p1 `%` p2 | p1.`rem` (p2) |

p1`++` | p1.`inc` () |

p1`--` | p1.`dec` () |

Here the implementation on our previous `data class`

:

Note that those examples are quiet simple, you may be able to implement more complex operator, depending on your own object's definition.

##### Let's practice a little

Assuming the following `data class`

:

```
data class Fraction(val numerator: Int, val denominator: Int)
```

## Show the answer

```
operator fun Fraction.plus(add: Fraction): Fraction =
if (this.denominator == add.denominator) {
Fraction(this.numerator + add.numerator, denominator)
} else {
Fraction(numerator * add.denominator + add.numerator * denominator,
denominator * add.denominator)
}
```

## Show the answer

```
operator fun Fraction.times(num: Int) = Fraction(numerator * num, denominator)
```

#### Equality and inequality

As a Java developer, I always felt confused about equality, sometimes you have to use `==`

/ `!=`

(on primitives),
sometimes you have to use `equals()`

. (reminder, the usage of `==`

/ `!=`

on non-primitive checks the reference of the
object not its value).

Kotlin makes it more simple by reserving the symbols `==`

and `!=`

to check the objects' values (to check
references you may use `===`

/ `!==`

).

To overload the equality (and inequality) checks, you may override the well known `equals()`

function.

```
override fun equals(other: Any?): Boolean {
if (other == null ||
other !is Point ||
x != other.x || y != other.y) return false
return true
}
```

Exception: As you may know, in Kotlin objects can be non-null. In that case,`x == null`

will always be`false`

, and`equals`

will never be called.

Tips: As you may know, in Kotlin, data class already implements`equals()`

, as other useful functions (`getters/setters`

,`hashCode()`

,`copy()`

and`toString()`

)

##### Let's practice a little

## Show the answer

```
override fun equals(other: Any?): Boolean {
if (this === other) return true
if (javaClass != other?.javaClass) return false
other as EqFraction
return decimal == other.decimal
}
```

NB: As a good practice, when you override

`equals()`

function, you should override`hashCode()`

too

#### Comparison

Comparison, `<`

, `>`

, `<=`

and `>=`

, are all based on one function, `compareTo()`

. This function returns an `Int`

,
that define if the left-side of an expression is `greater`

, `smaller`

or `equals`

to the right-side of that
same expression.

Expression | function called |
---|---|

left > right | left.compareTo(right) > 0 |

left < right | left.compareTo(right) < 0 |

left >= right | left.compareTo(right) >= 0 |

left <= right | left.compareTo(right) <= 0 |

Here is an examples on how we could compare `Point`

s:

You just saw how to use an operator to implement comparison between two instances of your object. But, there is
another way to implement such mechanism, you could implement the `Comparable`

interface, and overrides its
`compareTo`

method, it would have the same result.

```
data class Point(val x: Double, val y: Double) : Comparable<Point> {
override fun compareTo(other: Point): Int = when {
y != other.y -> (y - other.y).toInt()
else -> (x - other.x).toInt()
}
}
```

##### Let's practice a little

## Show the answer

```
override fun compareTo(other: ComparableFraction) = decimal.compareTo(other.decimal)
```

### Collections

Kotlin's Collections bring two type of **conventions**, the interaction with a specific data by using `getter`

and
`setter`

with indexes, and the ability to check if an object belongs to a given list through the keyword `in`

.

`get`

/`set`

You can implement `get`

and `set`

operators and then use square brackets to interact with your objects.

Expression | Function called |
---|---|

`a[i]` | `a.get(i)` |

`a[i, j]` | `a.get(i, j)` |

`a[i_1, ..., i_n]` | `a.get(i_1, ..., i_n)` |

`in`

/`!in`

`in`

is an operator that calls the function `contains()`

, that you may implement to check if a value if part of your
object. Obviously, `!in`

will call `!contains()`

. You'll be glad to know that `Collection`

have already an
implementation of the `contains`

function, so you could already check if `1`

is part of the `listOf(1, 2, 3)`

(hint:
this return `true`

^_^).

Here is an example implementing operators for collections

##### Let's practice a little

## Show the answer

```
operator fun ComparableFraction.get(index: Int) =
when (index) {
0 -> numerator
1 -> denominator
else -> IllegalArgumentException("Index must be 0 or 1")
}
```

### Ranges

Ranges are part of the nice features that make you love Kotlin. It's no magic, there is *(nearly)* no complexity, but
when you
think about it, it just make sense. To build ranges you can use the operator `..`

, translated to `rangeTo()`

.

The Kotlin standard library provides some extra features around type that we know. So integrals have their own
implementation of Ranges, like `IntRange`

(as `LongRange`

and `CharRange`

), that allow you to write `1..10`

that will
build a collection of value from 1 to 10 included, by calling the following snippet `1.rangeTo(10)`

.

#### Custom ranges

Let's get back to our `Point`

class.

```
data class Point(val x: Double, val y: Double) : Comparable<Point> {
override fun compareTo(other: Point): Int = when {
y != other.y -> (y - other.y).toInt()
else -> (x - other.x).toInt()
}
}
```

Kotlin provides an extension `rangeTo()`

on `Comparable<T>`

interface, so we don't need to overload it for our `Point`

class.

#### Iterating over ranges

To go further we may implement an operator to iterate over `Point`

ranges, the `iterator()`

:

```
operator fun ClosedRange<Point>.iterator() = object : Iterator<Point> {
var currentPoint = start
override fun hasNext() = currentPoint <= endInclusive
override fun next() = currentPoint++
}
```

By doing that, we can now iterate over a `Point`

collection:

##### Let's practice a little

## Show the answer

```
operator fun ClosedRange<RangeFraction>.iterator() = object : Iterator<RangeFraction> {
var currentFraction: RangeFraction = start
override fun hasNext() = currentFraction <= endInclusive
override fun next() = currentFraction++
}
```

### Destructuring Declaration

Many times, you certainly had to decompose objects to play with:

```
val name = person.name
val age = person.age
val address = person.address
// and so on
```

With Kotlin, you are able to decompose your `data class`

, `Map(s)`

, and own object in a simple way.

`data class`

`data class`

get rid of a lot of boilerplate code (`getter/setter`

, `equals`

, `hashCode`

, `toString`

, `copy`

...), but it
also brings the ability to decompose our object according to the properties we have defined.
Kotlin create a `component`

operator for each of those properties.

Let's take this data `class as`

example

```
data class Person(val name: String, val age: Int, val address: String)
```

The compiler will automatically provide `componentN()`

for `name`

(component1), `age`

(component2) and `address`

(component3). Give you the power to destructure the `Person`

object into variables.

```
data class Person(val name: String, val age: Int, val address: String) {
// behind the scene
operator fun component1() = this.name
operator fun component2() = this.age
operator fun component3() = this.address
}
```

Usage

tips: if you don't need some elements you can omit them by using an underscore

`_`

`Map(s)`

Map implements `iterator()`

, `component1()`

for key, and `component2()`

for value. That help us to write nice
more convenient iteration like:

##### Let's practice a little

## Show the answer

```
val (name, brand, size, price) = product
```

### Summary

Here is a reminder of what you can do

`by convention`

Expression | Invoke |
---|---|

`a + b` | `a.plus(b)` |

`a - b` | `a.minus(b)` |

`a * b` | `a.times(b)` |

`a / b` | `a.div(b)` |

`a % b` | `a.rem(b)` , `a.mod(b)` (deprecated) |

`a > b` | `a.compareTo(b)` |

`a++` | `a.inc()` |

`b--` | `b.dec()` |

`a == b` | `a.equals(b)` |

`a != b` | `!a.equals(b)` |

`a < b` | `a.compareTo(b)` |

`a >= b` | `a.compareTo(b)` |

`a <= b` | `a.compareTo(b)` |

`a[i]` | `a.get(i)` |

`a[i, j]` | `a.get(i, j)` |

`a[i] = b` | `a.set(i, b)` |

`a[i, j] = b` | `a.set(i, j, b)` |

`a in b` | `b.contains(a)` |

`a !in b` | `!b.contains(a)` |

`a..b` | `a.rangeTo(b)` |

Go further with the full documentation !

Thanks to Simon Wirtz for his inspiring article !