expoter expoter - 1 month ago 4x
Scala Question

How to explain TreeNode type restriction and self-type in Spark's TreeNode?

From the definition of TreeNode in Spark SQL:

abstract class TreeNode[BaseType <: TreeNode[BaseType]] extends Product {
self: BaseType =>

What does it say about the subtypes of
? What's acceptable?



First, have a look at so called self-types: The blog of Andrew Rollins gives a nice intro on Self Type Annotations vs. Inheritance.

Basically, a self type, written as

trait Foo { self: SomeType =>

says, the trait Foo can only be mixed in a class which also implements SomeType. The difference between inheritance and self-type is also nicely explained here.

Often, self-types are used for Dependency Injection, such as in the Cake Pattern.


Given the type definition:

class TreeNode[BaseType <: TreeNode[BaseType]] {
  self: BaseType with Product =>
  // ...
  1. The definition TreeNode[BaseType <: TreeNode[BaseType]] says: TreeNode is typed such that the type parameter BaseType is at least (in the sense of sub-classing) also a TreeNode[BaseType]. Speaking roughly that means: The type-parameter must also be a TreeNode itself.

  2. The self-type here demands, that a subclass of TreeNode is only "allowed" if it also provides a Product.

Concrete examples

Example 1

class IntTreeNode extends TreeNode[Int] {}

does not compile due to:

  1. The type argument Int does not conform to class TreeNode's type parameter bounds, i.e. [BaseType <: TreeNode[BaseType]]
  2. Illegal inheritance due to self-type restriction.

Example 2

class IntTreeNode2 extends TreeNode[IntTreeNode2]

does not compile due to:

  1. Illegal inheritance due to self-type restriction.

Example 3

class TupleTreeNode extends TreeNode[TupleTreeNode] with Product1[Int] {
  // implementation just to be a `Product1` 
  override def _1: Int = ???
  override def canEqual(that: Any): Boolean = ???

does compile due to:

  1. type constraint on BaseType and self-type are both fulfilled. So, this is what the original definition requires.


Also an example similar to yours (Catalyst) is given on docs.scala-lang.org