One of the things that will show up in the imminently forthcoming Scala 2.7.1 release candidate, is the addition of traits for representing equivalence relations, partial orderings, and total orderings. Previously, the trait

Ordered

was used for representing totally ordered things:

trait Ordered[A] {

def compare(that: A): Int

def < (that: A): Boolean = (this compare that) < 0

def > (that: A): Boolean = (this compare that) > 0

def <= (that: A): Boolean = (this compare that) <= 0

def >= (that: A): Boolean = (this compare that) >= 0

def compareTo(that: A): Int = compare(that)

}

However, the

Ordered

trait does not provide a representation of a total ordering. Therefore, the new trait

`Ordering`

:

trait Ordering[T] extends PartialOrdering[T] {

def compare(x: T, y: T): Int

override def lteq(x: T, y: T): Boolean = compare(x, y) <= 0

override def gteq(x: T, y: T): Boolean = compare(x, y) >= 0

override def lt(x: T, y: T): Boolean = compare(x, y) < 0

override def gt(x: T, y: T): Boolean = compare(x, y) > 0

override def equiv(x: T, y: T): Boolean = compare(x, y) == 0

}

The tricky part however, was writing description of the properties required of something that implements the

Ordering

trait. When one normally thinks of a

total ordering one thinks of a relation that is

- anti-symmetric,
- transitive,
- and total.

The problem is that

Ordering

is not defined in terms of a binary relation, but a binary function producing integers (

compare

). If the first argument is less than the second the function returns a negative integer, if they are equal in the ordering the function returns zero, and if the second argument is less than the first the function returns a positive integer. Therefore, it is not straightforward to express these same properties. The best I could come up with was

Where

Math.signum

returns

-1

if its input is negative,

0

if its input is

0

, and

1

if its input is positive.

The first property is clearly reflexivity. I call the third property transitivity. I am not sure what to call the second property. I do not think a notion of totality is required because it is assumed you will always get an integer back from

compare

rather than it throwing an exception or going into an infinite loop.

It would probably be a good exercise to prove that given these properties on

compare

hold if and only if

lteq

(defined above in terms of

compare

) has all the normal properties of a total ordering.