Initializing Lazy and Lateinit Variables In Kotlin

Kotlin usually requires us to initialize properties as soon as we define them. Doing this seems odd when we don’t know the ideal initial value, especially in the case of lifecycle-driven Android properties.

Luckily, there is a way to get through this problem. The IntelliJ IDEA editor will warn you if you declare a class property without initializing it and recommend adding a lateinit keyword.

What if an initialized property or object doesn’t actually get used in the program? Well, these unused initializations will be liabilities to the program since object creation is a heavy process. This is another example of where lateinit can come to our rescue.

This article will explain how the lateinit modifier and lazy delegation can take care of unused or unnecessary early initializations. This will make your Kotlin development workflow more efficient altogether.

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Initializing Lazy and Lateinit Variables In Kotlin

Juned Ghanchi


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Kotlin Lazy Initialization Example » grokonez

Kotlin Lazy Initialization Example

Lazy Initialization is a common pattern for delaying creation of an object, calculation of a value, or an expensive process until it’s accessed for the first time. It is helpful when the initialization process consumes significant resources and the data isn’t always required when the object is used. Kotlin provides a good solution for that with lazy function. In this tutorial, we’re gonna look at a Kotlin Lazy Initialization example.

I. Technology

- Java 1.8 - Kotlin 1.1.2

II. Overview

Assume that we have a Person(name,books) class that lets us access a list of the books own by a person. Books list is stored in a database that we need time to access.

We want to load books on first access to the books property and do it only once.
It can be done with a delegated property:

data class Person(val name: String) {

	val books by lazy { loadBooks(this) }
  • lazy function (thread-safe by default) returns an object that has getValuemethod called.
  • parameter of lazy is a lambda to initialize the value.

III. Practice

1. Helper Class

BookManager class handles processing data:

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