Julia – 32 – tipi – 1

Continuo da qui, copio qui.

Type systems have traditionally fallen into two quite different camps: static type systems, where every program expression must have a type computable before the execution of the program, and dynamic type systems, where nothing is known about types until run time, when the actual values manipulated by the program are available. Object orientation allows some flexibility in statically typed languages by letting code be written without the precise types of values being known at compile time. The ability to write code that can operate on different types is called polymorphism. All code in classic dynamically typed languages is polymorphic: only by explicitly checking types, or when objects fail to support operations at run-time, are the types of any values ever restricted.

Julia’s type system is dynamic, but gains some of the advantages of static type systems by making it possible to indicate that certain values are of specific types. This can be of great assistance in generating efficient code, but even more significantly, it allows method dispatch on the types of function arguments to be deeply integrated with the language. Method dispatch is explored in detail in Methods [prossimamente], but is rooted in the type system presented here.

The default behavior in Julia when types are omitted is to allow values to be of any type. Thus, one can write many useful Julia programs without ever explicitly using types. When additional expressiveness is needed, however, it is easy to gradually introduce explicit type annotations into previously “untyped” code. Doing so will typically increase both the performance and robustness of these systems, and perhaps somewhat counterintuitively, often significantly simplify them.

Describing Julia in the lingo of type systems, it is: dynamic, nominative and parametric. Generic types can be parameterized, and the hierarchical relationships between types are explicitly declared, rather than implied by compatible structure. One particularly distinctive feature of Julia’s type system is that concrete types may not subtype each other: all concrete types are final and may only have abstract types as their supertypes. While this might at first seem unduly restrictive, it has many beneficial consequences with surprisingly few drawbacks. It turns out that being able to inherit behavior is much more important than being able to inherit structure, and inheriting both causes significant difficulties in traditional object-oriented languages. Other high-level aspects of Julia’s type system that should be mentioned up front are:

  • There is no division between object and non-object values: all values in Julia are true objects having a type that belongs to a single, fully connected type graph, all nodes of which are equally first-class as types.
  • There is no meaningful concept of a “compile-time type”: the only type a value has is its actual type when the program is running. This is called a “run-time type” in object-oriented languages where the combination of static compilation with polymorphism makes this distinction significant.
  • Only values, not variables, have types – variables are simply names bound to values.
  • Both abstract and concrete types can be parameterized by other types. They can also be parameterized by symbols, by values of any type for which isbits() returns true (essentially, things like numbers and bools that are stored like C types or structs with no pointers to other objects), and also by tuples thereof. Type parameters may be omitted when they do not need to be referenced or restricted.

Julia’s type system is designed to be powerful and expressive, yet clear, intuitive and unobtrusive. Many Julia programmers may never feel the need to write code that explicitly uses types. Some kinds of programming, however, become clearer, simpler, faster and more robust with declared types.

Dichiarazione del tipo
The :: operator can be used to attach type annotations to expressions and variables in programs. There are two primary reasons to do this:

  • As an assertion to help confirm that your program works the way you expect,
  • To provide extra type information to the compiler, which can then improve performance in some cases

When appended to an expression computing a value, the :: operator is read as “is an instance of”. It can be used anywhere to assert that the value of the expression on the left is an instance of the type on the right. When the type on the right is concrete, the value on the left must have that type as its implementation – recall that all concrete types are final, so no implementation is a subtype of any other. When the type is abstract, it suffices for the value to be implemented by a concrete type that is a subtype of the abstract type. If the type assertion is not true, an exception is thrown, otherwise, the left-hand value is returned:

This allows a type assertion to be attached to any expression in-place.

When appended to a variable on the left-hand side of an assignment, or as part of a local declaration, the :: operator means something a bit different: it declares the variable to always have the specified type, like a type declaration in a statically-typed language such as C. Every value assigned to the variable will be converted to the declared type using convert():

This feature is useful for avoiding performance “gotchas” that could occur if one of the assignments to a variable changed its type unexpectedly.

This “declaration” behavior only occurs in specific contexts:

local x::Int8  # in a local declaration
x::Int8 = 10   # as the left-hand side of an assignment

and applies to the whole current scope, even before the declaration. Currently, type declarations cannot be used in global scope, e.g. in the REPL, since Julia does not yet have constant-type globals.

Declarations can also be attached to function definitions:

Returning from this function behaves just like an assignment to a variable with a declared type: the value is always converted to Float64.

A questo punto inizia l’esame dei vati tipi di tipi (loll). Dopo la pausa 😊


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