Kotlin sealed class with generic covariance

Kotlin sealed class with generic covariance

Covariance as a contract with strict rules make class type predictable and safe. Covariance approach let us to narrow the type of certain method.

Covariance approach let us to narrow the type of certain method, by example: Int type is a part of super type Any.

Kotlin provides ‘In’, ‘out’ reserved keywords — to enhance our tools of using covariance/contravariance.

For ‘in’ generic, we could assign a class of super-type to class of sub-type. But for ‘out’ generic, we could assign a class of sub-type to class of super-type.

If our class used generic type as the output of the function, we use ‘out’ in covariance logic. We pass type as a parameter to the Interface to be strict and concise in terms of functionality we use. ‘Out’ indicates that T is intended to be produced by the methods of this class.

In fact,

1. Use in when super type could be assigned sub type.

2. Use out when sub type could be assigned to super type.

With courtesy by Kt.Academy by Marcin Moskala

With courtesy of Kt.Academy by Marcin Moskala

By example, in real world we need to show a set of possibilities: class with a methods about Success, Failure or Proceeding state.

Sure, first thing we can useenum. But enum have their limitations: each sub type can be only a constant and it has no state.

fun action(x: Int): String {
    val foo = when (x) {
        PaymentStatus.PAID.value -> "PAID"
        PaymentStatus.UNPAID.value -> "UNPAID"
        else -> throw IllegalStateException()
    return foo
enum class PaymentStatus(val value: Int) {
fun main() {

kotlin when generics covariance sealed-classes

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