Another tour of Scala


Sealed Classes

The Gist

Sealed Classes gives a really, really short overview, with no real code explaining sealed classes.

My Interpretation

Suppose we implemented our case-classes-based logger as such:

Notice that in our log method, we forgot the case for BothMessage. Scala will happily compile this code, but we’ll get a MatchError at runtime. If we add the keyword sealed to our abstract base class:

we will get a compile error that the match is not exhaustive. By sealing the class, Scala will not let any other subclasses of LogMessage be created outside this source file. Consequently, Scala can use this fact to check that our match statements are exhaustive.

Note that we could freely subclass any of LogMessage’s subclasses, since this doesn’t add new cases we need to handle.

My Thoughts on this Feature

Why Java doesn’t do this with enumerations is beyond me. Very useful for catching dumb coding mistakes and also a nice keyword to describe our set of types. This is where static typing really helps us out.

Last Updated 08/03/2009 at 09:06:57 PM by Dave Copeland

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