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Redux-Like State Management with Sealed Class in Kotlin


On the previous post, we already discussed how your view should have its own model. We also have discussed how you can make a simple redux-like state machine in Kotlin.

In this post, we're gonna talk about a more complex state and how can sealed class in Kotlin can make help you.

Why sealed class?

Sealed class in Kotlin is used for representing restricted class hierarchies, when a value can have one of the types from a limited set, but cannot have any other type.

Since our UI state is finite, sealed class would be a pretty good choice for this kind of thing. Aside from that, we also have the compiler and IDE error/warning if our "discriminate" logic is not exhaustive.

State & Goal

Let's define our state & goal here. We have a simple login form that:

  1. Have three UI components

    • Username text field
    • Password text field
    • Login button
  2. Showing a loading indicator when we request to the API

  3. Dismiss the loading indicator when the request is finished, including unsuccessful request

  4. Showing an error message for unsuccessful request

  5. Showing errors in our text fields if the input rules not met (ex: username empty)

Our Code

In our project we're gonna need:

  1. Controller / View
  2. State
  3. Actions
  4. Presenter for tie it all together

We are using RxJava for the sake of my sanity. On this post we're not gonna highlight the Controller/View. You can find the full example on my Github


Let's start with something simple, our view model, our view state.

data class LoginState(
        val isLoading: Boolean = false,
        val error: Throwable? = null,
        val formError: FormError? = null,
        val isLoginSuccess: Boolean = false

class FormError(
        val usernameErrorMessage: String? = null,
        val passwordErrorMessage: String? = null
) : Throwable()

Here we have everything we need for our view. isLoginSuccess should only indicate the signal to navigate or some final action.


Now we have our state definition let's define our actions!

sealed class LoginAction

object ShowLoading : LoginAction()
object ShowLoginSuccess : LoginAction()
data class ShowError(val error: Throwable) : LoginAction()
data class ShowFormError(val formError: FormError) : LoginAction()

Here we use a sealed class called LoginAction and all our actions is a child of it.


Now let's move to the interesting part, the presenter! In our presenter, we have our reduce functions, our state wrapper in RxJava's BehaviorSubject, and of course our login function.

You can separate this into multiple class, but for the simplicity, we're just gonna put it all here in the presenter.

So let's start with how our state is declared in our presenter and wrapper in a BehaviorSubject for our view consumption

// inside our presenter
private val subject = BehaviorSubject.create<LoginState>()

fun getObservable() = subject.observeOn(AndroidSchedulers.mainThread())!!

It's pretty straight-forward. When we have a new state that we want to push to the view, we're just gonna push it to the BehaviorSubject through subject.onNext(loginState). And our view will listen to our state via getObservable() like this:

/* inside our controller */
presenter.getObservable().subscribe { state->
    // ... render our success state

Moving on, let's take a look at our state reducer.

private fun reduce(action: LoginAction): LoginState{
    val prevState = subject.value ?: LoginState()
    return when (action) {
        ShowLoading -> prevState.copy(isLoading = true, error = null, formError = null)
        ShowLoginSuccess -> prevState.copy(isLoading = false, isLoginSuccess = true)
        is ShowError -> prevState.copy(isLoading = false, error = action.error)
        is ShowFormError -> prevState.copy(isLoading = false, formError = action.formError)

This is where a sealed class is showing its power. It forces us to declare every possible variant of LoginAction. The logic itself is pretty simple. It takes our previous state or our initial state and then we mutate it with our action. It's explained before in here

And for the last, when we tie it all together, the login function.

fun login(username: String, password: String) {
    verifyForm(username, password)
            .switchMap { requestLoginApi(username, password) }
            .onErrorReturn {
                when (it) {
                    is FormError -> ShowFormError(it)
                    else -> ShowError(it)
            .subscribe { subject.onNext(it) }

Every action is about creating our action, our LoginAction. And after we have the action we want, we just reduce it and push it to BehaviorSubject.

You can access the full sample project on my Github.

That's all for me, also this is the final part of our state management series. Hope it helps! Cao 👋

This article is part of the state management series. Check it out! \ud83d\udc40