Friday, September 12, 2008

Generics solution

Previously, generics were hurting my head. The generics tutorial has this to say about the problem that is at issue here:

Wildcards are designed to support flexible subtyping [...]. Generic methods allow type parameters to be used to express dependencies among the types of one or more arguments to a method and/or its return type.

The solution here (thanks to Eric Jain) uses a generic method to express the dependency between the type Features in the Container passed into renderMap's getRendererFor(...) function and the type of Renderer returned. The renderer must be able to render that type of feature.

package generics.solution;

// We have a hierarchy of specialized subtypes of feature.
class Feature {

class SpecialFeature extends Feature {

// Features of a given kind are accessed through containers
interface Container<F extends Feature> {
 public Iterable<F> features();

// We want to draw features in various specialized ways.
interface Renderer<F extends Feature> {
 public void render(Iterable<? extends F> features);

class SpecialRenderer implements Renderer<SpecialFeature> {
 public void render(Iterable<? extends SpecialFeature> features) {
  // render special features

// Which renderer we use for a given container of features gets
// configured at runtime. This holds the mapping between renderers
// and containers.
interface RendererMap {
 public <F extends Feature> Renderer<? super F> getRendererFor(Container<F> container);

class RenderingScheduler {
 RendererMap rendererMap;

 public void render(Iterable<Container<? extends Feature>> containers) {
  for (Container<? extends Feature> container : containers) {

 public <F extends Feature> void render(Container<F> container) {
  Renderer<? super F> renderer = rendererMap.getRendererFor(container);

Update: Generics hurt my head some more.