More Kotlin (Array)

Kotlin Array

Before looking at Kotlin, as a background, Java has always supported runtime type checking of Array elements (reified) but it cannot support generic parameterized array types at compile time. The desired Java snippet below produces “error: generic array creation” :

public class Arrays<T> {
  public T[][] create2d(int height, int width) {
      return new T[height][width];

In Java, you must lean on reflection by providing a type class parameter to instantiate the array of type clazz: Class<T>, the difference with Kotlin is that we can use the generic type as a <reified T> directly.

Inline functions support reified type parameters to avoid using reflection with class references - the limitation is only type parameters of inlined functions can be reified - All other generic types are erased at runtime.

Kotlin, for example, defining Array<Int> is still compiled down to a Java Platform Object[Integer], the array type is enforced by the Kotlin compiler as invariant. Where as, Java arrays are covariant allowing unsafe generic assignments like array of Object = array of Integer.

Kotlin currently doesn’t support any array literal []={1,2,3} initialisation and we must use explicit construction when building, for example, n-dimensional arrays. Below is a 2d array of int.

2D array of String printing a table

The height and width are specified, then each row height and column width index is provided to the Array initialization lambda.

inline fun <reified T> matrix2d(height: Int, width: Int, init: (Int, Int) -> Array<T>) = Array<Array<T>>(height, { row -> init(row, width) })

fun main(args: Array<String>) {
  val table = matrix2d(5, 10, { row: Int, width: Int -> Array(width) { col -> "|$row$col" } })

	for (cells in table) {
	  for (cell in cells) {

Kotlin spec defines reified type parameters