Type assertions in GoLang

Type assertions in Go help access the underlying type of an interface and remove ambiguity from an interface variable. In this post, we will get a closer look at type assertions.

What are type-assertions in GoLang?

Type assertions reveal the concrete value inside the interface variable. Below is an example showing the assertion.

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	var i interface{} = 42
	// 
	fmt.Println(i.(int))  // 42
}

Type assertion syntax

The syntax for type assertion is simple. We take the interface variable and then access type with parenthesis as shown below.

// declare interface and assign
var i interface{} = "a string"

//type-assertion
valueOfI := i.(string)    // "a string"

interfaceVariable.(type) is the syntax.

Why use interfaces?

Interfaces are a type that can take any value. This creates ambiguity. Nothing can be told about that variable. Type assertion and type-switches helps to understand what kind of value it contains and what type it is.

Checking type-assertions

To check type assertions we can use the second return value for correctness. Here is how to use that.

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	var i interface{} = 42
	
	v, ok := i.(string)
	
	if ok == false  {
		fmt.Println("Wrong type assertion!") 
	} else {
		fmt.Println(v)
	}
	
	// Wrong type assertion!
	
	fmt.Println(i.(int))  // 42
}

Type-assertions and panic

Whenever a wrong assertion occurs panic happens. Panic is an error that can’t be seen before.

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	var i interface{} = 42
	
	v := i.(string)
	
	fmt.Println(v)
}

Why is it useful?

Type-assertions are useful to remove the ambiguity from interface variables. It helps unwrap the concrete value inside an interface variable.