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March 19, 2015

Groovy Goodness: Use Constructor as Method Pointer

In Java 8 we can create a constructor reference. We must use the syntax Class::new and we get a constructor reference. This syntax is not supported in Groovy, but we can use the method pointer or reference syntax .& to turn a method into a closure. We can even turn a constructor into a closure and use it everywhere where closures are allowed.

In the following sample code we have a User class with some properties. Via the User.metaClass we can get a reference to the method invokeConstructor and turn it into a method closure:

@groovy.transform.Immutable
class User {
    String name
    int age
}


// Initial list with user defined
// using a map or Object array.
def userList = [
    // User defined as map, keys
    // are properties of User class.
    [name: 'mrhaki', age: 41], 
    
    // Object array with name and
    // age properties for User class.
    ['john', 30] as Object[]
]

// Create constructor reference.
// Result is a closure we can use in our code.
def createUser = User.metaClass.&invokeConstructor

// Invoke the collect method with our
// constructor reference. At the end
// all elements of the userList 
// are converted to new User objects.
def users = userList.collect(createUser)


assert users.name == ['mrhaki', 'john']
assert users.age == [41, 30]

Code written with Groovy 2.4.1.