Functions & Lambdas in Kotlin

Tan Jun Rong
Android Programmer who likes writing blogs, reading, coffee, snowboarding.
Mar 30, 2018 216 words
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While coding at work today, I discover a few ways for referencing methods in Kotlin.

In Kotlin, we can declare and pass lambda like any normal type objects into methods. Then they can be executed by calling methodName.invoke() or directly using methodName():

Let's say we have a function like this:

helloWorldFunction.kt

fun helloWorldFunction(year: Int): String { return "[function] year ${year}" }

it can be called like this:

main.kt

helloWorldFunction(2018) // output: [function] year 2018

We can also assign it into a variable, then call it 👇
Note that we need :: to reference to a method name.

main.kt

val target = ::helloWorldFunction println(target(2018)) // output: [function] year 2018

Instead of a function, we can also create a lambda:

helloWorldLambda.kt

var helloWorldLambda = { year: Int -> "[lambda] year ${year}" }

Call side would look like this:

main.kt

val target = helloWorldLambda println(target(123)) // output: [lambda] year 2018

There is also an alternative way of calling the function or lambda from the assigned variable:

both_works.kt

target(123) target.invoke(123)

scoped methods

There is another interesting thing that I learned about Kotlin's function and lambda. Scope can be applied to them.

scoped_function.kt

fun String.surroundWithNumber(number: Int): String { return "${number}_${this}_${number}" }

The prefix in front of the method name, String., means that it should be called by a String object. "randomString".surroundWithNumber(0) works fine, but surroundWithNumber(0) will give you a syntax error.

Again, this can be assigned into a variable, and get passed around and executed:

main.kt

var target: String.(Int) -> String target = String::surroundWithNumber println("random".target(999)) // output: 999_random_999

Pretty cool features 😎
See you in the next post! 🐱


Written By

Tan Jun Rong

Android Programmer who likes writing blogs, reading, coffee, snowboarding.

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