Partial Class support in the future?

Since Kotlin is able to create top level function inside a package, but since it will just be compiled as a package class, then why not try to support partial class just like in C#? Cause it will benefit a lot since it can be extended anywhere and also much cleaner approach.


I'm curious, what would beyour use case? Can it be achieved with extension functions?

Extension method (plus): + Can extend anything on the fly (class, object, trait)

Extension method (minus):

  • Can’t do static extend since it’s only for instance (actually it can by extending the respetive Companion)
  • Will have to import the method, mostly manually since IDE sometimes can’t import it automatically.

Top-level function (plus):

  • Can call the method without instatiating the “hidden” class

Top-level funtion (minus):

  • Can’t change the “hidden” class name since it will always be compiled into xxxPackage class name. So not so great when calling it from Java.

Partial declaration (class, object, trait)

  • Better entity naming, no longer xxxPackage name
  • Basically it just declaration, so it should able to create (extend) static member and instance member

Those 3 things (extension, top-level funtion, partial declaration) will complement each others.

I already use extension method a lot.

trait Loggable {
  fun info() { … }
  fun error() { … }

object hello : Loggable {}

fun String) {


if Partial declaration is supported, I don’t have to create an empty declaration like in hello.kt, since I can “extend” it anywhere.

partial object hello : Loggable {
  fun world() { … }

partial object hello {
  fun name() { … }

or when using it as class, should be able to declare static member anywhere.

partial class hello {
  companion object {
  fun name() { … }

I think top-level function already did this but minus the naming ability.

Partial classes are great for code generation because the generated code can go in a separate file from the hand-written code but it's still in the same class.

In Java you have to choose between two bad options. You can mix the hand-written and generated code which is normally ugly, or you can generate code into a different class which has limitations. The combination of partial classes and annotation processing for code generation would be extremely powerful.

1 Like

partial class helps organize big class in a proper logic way.
actually ,in my iOS project ,I have a controller class consist with more than 9 files.
one main feature one extension class file. hope kotlin will support partial class,or extension class more friendly

Partial class would also benefit multi-flavoured projects like android projects. If only part of a class needs to be different for each flavour, you would be able to implement it in a partial class, specific to the flavour. Currently the solution is creating a base class and have a child for each flavor, but this leaves the base class open to be extended from anywhere.

1 Like

And like it’s explain in this blog, partial class use case is when using generated code tool. I don’t know if there’s already some tools that do that with Kotlin.

1 Like

Precisely, partial classes are super useful for processors that generate code (& is precisely how C# used it in .NET, as code generated from XML page templates would have fields declared in a partial class which could then be used from the class)

Would be great to see partial classes in kotlin for the code generation case (for other things, one can probably argue composition is a better approach)

1 Like