Ivan Ivan - 2 months ago 15
Scala Question

What does "Forward reference extends over definition of value" mean in Scala?

I keep getting

Forward reference extends over definition of value a


error while trying to compile my application (inside SBT).

a
is just
val a = ""
, the error is triggered by accessing a particular parameter (of the function) right before
a
definition. The parameter is of a simple case class type with all three fields of
Option[...]
type (2 of
Option[org.joda.time.DateTime]
and 1 of Option of an enumeration value).

What can "Forward reference extends over definition of value" mean at all and what can be the ways to fight it?

Answer

Depending on your scalac version, there have been bugs where synthetic methods cause this error.

https://issues.scala-lang.org/browse/SI-6278

Illustration, imagine f is generated:

object Test {
  def main(args: Array[String]) {
    class NotUsed {val x = f}
    val dummy = false
    def f = true
  }
}

Case classes, default arguments and implicit classes involve synthetics.

In the example code from that ticket (which has been fixed), you can break the ok method by moving the implicit to the end of the function:

object tiny {

  def main(args: Array[String]) {
    ok(); nope()
  }
  def ok() {
    class Foo(val i: Int) {
      def foo[A](body: =>A): A = body
    }
    implicit def toFoo(i: Int): Foo = new Foo(i)

    val k = 1
    k foo println("k?")
    val j = 2
  }
  def nope() {
    implicit class Foo(val i: Int) {
      def foo[A](body: =>A): A = body
    }

    val k = 1
    k foo println("k?")
    //lazy
    val j = 2
  }
}

what can be the ways to fight it?

As implied by the comment in the code, making the definition lazy is a workaround.

Illustration 2, imagine the function is so long that you don't notice the naming problem:

object Test {
  def main(args: Array[String]) {
    class NotUsed {val xs = args}
    val dummy = false
    // oops, shadows the parameter
    def args = Seq("a","b","c")
  }
}
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