Rahul Katariya Rahul Katariya - 7 months ago 13
Swift Question

Swift Protocols with Associated Type Requirement and Default Implementation

I have been struggling very hard with Swift Protocols and Associated Types for a long time. I started again with basic to really understand what is going wrong and I followed this article of TypeErasure in Swift Protocols with Associated Type Requirement by Rob Napier but still i have no luck.

Find the code below

// An Animal can eat
protocol Animal {
associatedtype Food
func feed(food: Food) -> Void
}

struct AnyAnimal<Food>: Animal {
private let _feed: (Food) -> Void
init<Base: Animal where Food == Base.Food>(_ base: Base) {
_feed = base.feed
}
func feed(food: Food) { _feed(food) }
}

// Kinds of Food
struct Grass {}

struct Cow: Animal {
func feed(food: Grass) { print("moo") }
}

struct Goat: Animal {
func feed(food: Grass) { print("bah") }
}

let grassEaters = [AnyAnimal(Cow()), AnyAnimal(Goat())]
for animal in grassEaters {
animal.feed(Grass())
}


Now i wanted to give a default implementation in the protocol Animal like below

extension Animal {

func feed(food: Food) -> Void {
print("unknown")
}
}


And when i removed the function from the struct Cow i get the error message that Cow doesn't conform to Protocol Animal.

Does that mean you cannot have Type Erasures and Default Implementation together?. Is there any way where i can do TypeErasure and also keep a Default Implementation?

Answer

The problem is unrelated to the type erasure and you'll get the same error message if you remove the struct AnyAnimal<Food> definition.

If you remove the feed() method from struct Cow then the compiler cannot infer the associated type Food. So either you use a concrete type in the default implementation:

extension Animal {
    func feed(food: Grass) -> Void {
        print("unknown")
    }
}

struct Cow: Animal {
}

or you define a type alias Food for each type using the default implementation:

extension Animal {
    func feed(food: Food) -> Void {
        print("unknown")
    }
}

struct Cow: Animal {
    typealias Food = Grass
}