Java Interop / IntelliJ: Property syntax for method invocations


Say you have the following Java class:

public class MyClass
    private String name = "";

    public String getName()
        return name;

Then you can do the following in Kotlin:


However, IntelliJ recognizes the prefix get and will suggest you use property notation:


Furthermore, IntelliJ offers code completion for the latter option only

So far, this is great: name is a property and should be accessed like one, using the concise syntax.

This becomes a problem when there is a Java method with prefix get that is actually not a property. Sometimes, the line between methods and properties may be blurry, but sometimes it is quite clear. E.g., javax.persistence.Query.getResultList() is clearly a method:

  1. It would be strange to think of a result as a “property” of a query.
  2. An invocation may returns a different instance each time.
  3. The method may hit the database.

So, writing query.resultList would actually be misleading and masquerading a potentially expensive method call. It is better to write query.getResultList(), but IntelliJ will discourage you to do so.

The ideal solution to this problem would involve a new annotation @NoProperty that gets added to all Java methods like Query.getResultList(). Since this is not going to happen, I suggest that IntelliJ should allow you to configure get-prefixed methods that are supposed to be called like methods. A default list could be community-curated. It is very unlikely that there will be versioning issues. Another option could be bytecode analysis to find out whether get-prefixed methods ultimately only access fields (possibly via a chain of get-prefixed methods). If so, they are properties, otherwise the are not.

For background information, you might want to check out the guide on properties vs. methods in .NET.


The Kotlin reference also has a small section on functions vs. properties, giving basically the same advice as the .NET guide:

In some cases functions with no arguments might be interchangeable with read-only properties. Although the semantics are similar, there are some stylistic conventions on when to prefer one to another.

Prefer a property over a function when the underlying algorithm:

- does not throw any Exceptions
- has a O(1) complexity
- is cheap to calculate (or caсhed on the first run)
- returns the same result over invocations


IntelliJ IDEA already offers this configuration possibility.


Indeed that looks exactly like what I have been searching for. Unfortunately, I just cannot seem to be able to persist my changes to that list of excluded methods.

Works: When I navigate to that option from the settings menu and disable the rule (in profile “Default IDE”), the “Apply” button becomes enabled, as expected. If I click “OK”, the window closes and the rule is now disabled, as expected. If I reopen the settings, it is still disabled, as expected.

Does not work: When I add a method to the list, the “Apply” button stays disabled. If I close the window, the method is not excluded by the rule. If I reopen the settings, the new method is gone. This looks like a bug to me. Should I create an issue in your tracker?

IntelliJ IDEA 2017.2.4
Build #IC-172.4155.36, built on September 11, 2017
JRE: 1.8.0_152-release-915-b11 amd64
JVM: OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM by JetBrains s.r.o
Windows 7 6.1