I have been educating myself in Kotlin recently. One of the most powerful feature that Kotlin provides is: Extension Functions. The simplest of example of a Extension Function that I can come up with is:

fun String.addOne() = this + "1"

And then:
println("Boba".addOne()) leads to an output of: Boba1

So above we have added a new function to String class.

Generic Extension Functions

With the basic introduction out of the way, I wanted to write a Generic extension function. We use Netflix OSS at work and are constantly getting property values via code that looks like this:

DynamicPropertyFactory.getInstance().getStringProperty("SOME_CONFIG_PROP_NAME", "I am a good default value").get()

Basically, above code allows us to fetch (dynamically) values of a property: SOME_CONFIG_PROP_NAME in this example, and provide default value I am a good default value in this case.

We have several variations of this, for example:


So on and so forth. I wanted to have a generic extension function available on String class because property names are always String type. Here's the generic function:

fun  String.getConfig(default: T): T {
    val dynamicPropertyFactory = DynamicPropertyFactory.getInstance()
    return when (default) {
        is String  -> dynamicPropertyFactory.getStringProperty(this, default).get()
        is Int     -> dynamicPropertyFactory.getIntProperty(this, default).get()
        is Float   -> dynamicPropertyFactory.getFloatProperty(this, default).get()
        is Double  -> dynamicPropertyFactory.getDoubleProperty(this, default).get()
        is Boolean -> dynamicPropertyFactory.getBooleanProperty(this, default).get()
        is Long    -> dynamicPropertyFactory.getLongProperty(this, default).get()
        else       -> default
    } as T

Kotlin would know based on the input param what "type" it is. And we can use that power to use the when expression along with is to check what type it is and call appropriate function based on the type of default value.

So now our code can become as simple as:

"SOME_CONFIG_PROP_NAME".getConfig("I am a good default value")


Boom. Done.