Java to Kotlin: A Refactoring Guidebook

Exhaustiveness of When Statements

In Kotlin 1.7, Kotlin will check both when expressions and when statements for exhaustiveness in the same way . This removes the need for the trick with the no-op exhaustive extension method we described in Chapter 18 of the book.

In Kotlin versions up to and including 1.5, The compiler checks when expressions for exhaustiveness but does not check when statements. The compiler considers when to be a statement if the value of the entire when expression is unused. You can make the compiler to check for exhaustiveness by using the result of the when. In the book, we showed how this can be done with a no-op extension method:

val <T> T.exhaustive get() = this

If you call exhaustive on the result of a when statement, the compiler considers the when to be an expression of type Unit and checks it for exhaustiveness.

when (anInstanceOfSealedClass) {
    is SubclassA -> println("A")
    is SubclassB -> println("B")

In Kotlin 1.7 onwards we can do away with the call to .exhaustive – the compiler will check the when statement for exhaustiveness anyway. In 1.6, a non-exhaustive when statements will result in a compile-time warning. In 1.7, it will cause a compile error.