Roberto Selbach

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Clashing method names in Go interfaces

I wrote about how the Go and C# compilers implement interfaces and mentioned how C# deals with clashing method names but I didn’t talk about how Go does it, so here it is.

Two interfaces with the same method name that need to behave differently is very likely a sign of bad API design and we should fix it instead. But sometimes we can’t help it (e.g. the interfaces are part of a third-party package). How do we deal with it then? Let’s see.

Given two interfaces

type Firster interface {
    DoSomething()
}

type Seconder interface {
    DoSomething()
}

We implement them like this

type MyStruct struct{}

func (ms MyStruct) DoSomething() {
    log.Println("Doing something")
}

We can run this little test here to verify that MyStruct implements both interfaces.

But what if we need DoSomething() to do something different depending on whether MyStruct is being cast as Firster or Seconder?

Go doesn’t support any kind of explicit declaration of interfaces when implementing methods. We can’t do something like, say

type MyStruct struct{}

func (ms MyStruct) Firster.DoSomething() {
    log.Println("Doing something")
}

func (ms MyStruct) Seconder.DoSomething() {
    log.Println("Doing something")
}

That won’t work. The solution is to wrap MyStruct with a new type that reimplements DoSomething(). Like this

type SeconderWrapper struct {
    MyStruct
}

func (sw SeconderWrapper) DoSomething() {
    log.Println("Doing something different")
}

Now when we need to pass it to a function expecting Seconder, we can wrap MyStruct

ms := MyStruct{}
useSeconder(SeconderWrapper{ms})

That will run the DoSomething() from SeconderWrapper. When passing it as Firster, the original DoSomething() will be called instead. You can see this in action here.