A union type
A | B includes all values of both types.
trait ID case class UserName(name: String) extends ID case class Password(hash: Hash) extends ID def help(id: UserName | Password) = val user = id match case UserName(name) => lookupName(name) case Password(hash) => lookupPassword(hash) ...
Union types are duals of intersection types.
| is commutative:
A | B is the same type as
B | A.
The compiler will assign a union type to an expression only if such a type is explicitly given or if the common supertype of all alternatives is transparent.
This can be seen in the following REPL transcript:
scala> val password = Password(123) val password: Password = Password(123) scala> val name = UserName("Eve") val name: UserName = UserName(Eve) scala> if true then name else password val res1: ID = UserName(Eve) scala> val either: Password | UserName = if true then name else password val either: UserName | Password = UserName(Eve)
The type of
ID, which is a supertype of
Password, but not the least supertype
UserName | Password. If we want the least supertype, we have to give it explicitly, as is done for the type of
The inference behavior changes if the common supertrait
ID is declared
transparent trait ID
In that case the union type is not widened.
scala> if true then name else password val res2: UserName | Password = UserName(Eve)
The more precise union type is also inferred if
Password are declared without an explicit parent, since in that case their implied superclass is
Object, which is among the classes that are assumed to be transparent. See Transparent Traits and Classes for a list of such classes.
case class UserName(name: String) case class Password(hash: Hash) scala> if true then UserName("Eve") else Password(123) val res3: UserName | Password = UserName(Eve)