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Spice offers basic support for generics. Structs and Interfaces as well as functions and procedures can be marked as generic by attaching a template list with one or more generic types to it.

Spice resolves the substantiations of generic types at compile time. This helps to keep the runtime performance up. Generic function substantiations that are unused, are removed by the compiler automatically.

Generic types

Before using generic types, you have to declare the types first. This can be done like this:

type T dyn;
type U int|double|long;

In the above example T can substantiate to an arbitrary type, whilst U can only become an int, a double or a long.

Generic functions or procedures

Here is an example function:

f<double> genericFunction<T, U>(T arg1, U arg2, int arg3 = 10) {
    return arg1 + arg2 + arg3;

To be able to use generic types in the argument list, the return type or in the function/procedure body, they have to be included in the template list, that is attached at the function (in the above example <T, U>). If this is not the case, the compiler will ask you to do so.

As mentioned above, the substantiations of generic types are collected at compile time. That means, that the compiler is able to type-check all concrete substantiations to ensure that e.g. operators are compatible with the concrete types. Furthermore, this enables more optimizations and does not require to carry runtime type information at runtime, which improves runtime speed.

Generic structs

Here is a generic struct example:

type T bool|short|long;

type Vector<T> struct {
    T* contents
    int cap

p Vector.print() {
    printf("Ptr: %p", this.contents);

The above example shows, that you can use the generic type as part of struct field types. Like normal structs, generic structs can also have methods. The concrete types for the generic types, used for the parent struct, are inherited by the method, so you do not have to define the method above with following signature: Vector<T>.print().