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description
When one number just doesn't cut it.

Types

Instead of using the number type for all sorts of numeric values, AssemblyScript inherits WebAssembly's more specific integer and floating point types:

AssemblyScript type Actual WebAssembly type Description
i32 i32 A 32-bit signed integer.
u32 i32 A 32-bit unsigned integer.
i64 i64 A 64-bit signed integer.
u64 i64 A 64-bit unsigned integer.
f32 f32 A 32-bit float.
f64 f64 A 64-bit float.
v128 v128 A 128-bit vector 🦄.
Small types
i8 i32 An 8-bit signed integer.
u8 i32 An 8-bit unsigned integer.
i16 i32 A 16-bit signed integer.
u16 i32 A 16-bit unsigned integer.
bool i32 A 1-bit unsigned integer.
Special types
isize i32/i64 A 32-bit signed integer in WASM32.
A 64-bit signed integer in WASM64 🦄.
usize i32/i64

A 32-bit unsigned integer in WASM32.

A 64-bit unsigned integer in WASM64 🦄.

void - Indicates no return value.
Alias types
number f64 Alias of f64. Not recommended.
boolean i32 Alias of bool. Not recommended.
## Type rules

With just one numeric type, a JavaScript VM tries to determine the best fitting machine-level instruction automatically, doing conversions silently, possibly leading to code not performing as well as expected. AssemblyScript, on the other hand, lets the developer declare the correct type in advance, and will complain when it sees an implicit conversion that might not actually be intended, quite similar to what a C compiler would do.

Casting

In AssemblyScript, the type assertions <T>expression and expression as T known from TypeScript become explicit type conversions, essentially telling the compiler that the conversion is intended. In addition, each of the type names mentioned above, except aliases, also act as portable conversion built-ins that can be used just like i32(expression). Using portable conversions is especially useful where the exact same code is meant to be compiled to JavaScript with the TypeScript compiler (see), that otherwise would require the insertion of asm.js-style type coercions like expression | 0.

Inference

Compared to TypeScript, type inference in AssemblyScript is limited because the type of each expression must be known in advance. This means that variable and parameter declarations must either have their type annotated or have an initializer. Without a type annotation and only an initializer, AssemblyScript will assume i32 at first and only reconsider another type if the value doesn't fit (becomes i64), is a float (becomes f64) or irrefutably has another type than these, like the type of a variable, the return type of a function or a class type. Furthermore, functions must be annotated with a return type to help the compiler make the correct decisions, for example where a literal is returned or multiple return statements are present.

Nullability

Basic types cannot be nullable, but class and function types can. Appending | null declares a nullable type.

Assignability

Assigning a value of one type to a target of another type can be performed without explicit casts where the full range of possible values can be represented in the target type, regardless of interpretation/signedness:

bool i8/u8 i16/u16 i32/u32 i64/u64 f32 f64
bool
i8/u8
i16/u16
i32/u32
i64/u64
f32
f64

Note that isize and usize are aliases of either i32 and u32 in WASM32 respectively i64 and u64 in WASM64 🦄.

{% code-tabs %} {% code-tabs-item title="Example" %}

var i8val  : i8  = -128;  // 0x80
var u8val  : u8  = i8val; // becomes 128 (0x80)
var i16val : i16 = i8val; // becomes -128 through sign-extension (0xFF80)
var u16val : u16 = i8val; // becomes 65408 through masking (0xFF80)
var f32val : f32 = i8val; // becomes -128.0

{% endcode-tabs-item %} {% endcode-tabs %}

Comparability

Comparing two values of different types can be performed without an explicit cast under the same rules as outlined in assignability above

  1. if the comparison is absolute (==, !=)
  2. if the comparison is relative (>, <, >=, <=) and both types have the same signedness

because WebAssembly has distinct operations for signed and unsigned comparisons. The comparison uses the larger type and returns bool.

Bit shifts

The result of a bit shift (<<, >>) is the left type, with the right type implicitly converted to the left type, performing an arithmetic shift if the left type is signed and a logical shift if the left type is unsigned.

The result of an unsigned right shift (>>>) is the left type (signedness is retained), with the right type implicitly converted to the left type, but always performing a logical shift.

If the left type is a float, an error is emitted.

Macro types

The following macro types provide access to related types that would otherwise be impossible to obtain.

Macro type Description
native<T> Obtains the underlying native type of T, e.g. u32 if T is a class (in WASM32).
indexof<T> Obtains the index type of a collection based on the indexed access overload.
valueof<T> Obtains the value type of a collection based on the indexed access overload.
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