lapuckire lapuckire - 1 year ago 145
TypeScript Question

Typescript method overloading with one parameter of different type (non-primitive)

Ok, what I would like to do is simple. I want to overload a method so that it can take one parameter, which is of non-primitive type.

I understand I can't do it like this because TypeScript losts all types when compiled to JavaScript. If one of the parameters was primitive (e.g. string), I could do it (typeof myString == "string").

public doSomething(typeA: TypeA);
public doSomething(typeB: TypeB);
public doSomething(type: TypeA | TypeB) {
if (typeof type == "TypeA") {
... // obviously I can't do that, Javascript got no types
... // typeof type === "object"
else if (typeof type == "TypeB") { //the same }
else { //undefined }

What I thought up is this:

public doSomething(typeA?: TypeA, typeB?: TypeB) {
if (typeA) { ... }
else if (typeB) { ... }
else { //undefined }

Then I have to call this way:

doSomething(typeA, undefined); //to call TypeA version
doSomething(undefined, typeB); //to call TypeB version

Is such a design acceptable or is it better to rather create two separate methods?


This notation is probably better. You are forced (by IDE) to add the undefined when you're calling the method.

public doSomething(typeA: TypeA | undefined, typeB: TypeB | undefined) {
if (typeA) { ... }
else if (typeB) { ... }
else { //undefined }

Answer Source

You can have functions that check whether a value is of a certain type, and typescript has the notion of user defined type guards:

interface TypeA {
    x: string;
function isTypeA(value: any): value is TypeA {
    return Object.keys(value).length === 1 && typeof value.x === "string";

interface TypeB {
    y: number;
function isTypeB(value: any): value is TypeB {
    return Object.keys(value).length === 1 && typeof value.y === "number";

function doSomething(typeA: TypeA);
function doSomething(typeB: TypeB);
function doSomething(type: TypeA | TypeB) {
    if (isTypeA(type)) {
    } else {

(code in playground)

In your example, as the passed value can be only of TypeA and TypeB then there's no need for the extra if/else.
But you can also use the isTypeB.

This method is good if you need this check in a few places in your code, but if you need it for just that one function, then I think that I would go with two different functions, depending on the amount of duplicated code.

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