Generic Enumeration Classes for Dart

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Enumerations are ideal when we want to model choosing from a limited set of constant values. In Dart, the value of an enum resolves to a String.

GenericEnum is a base class for creating enumeration classes with generic value type. These classes appear to the user of the library much like a Dart enum would. For example, generic enums can be used in switch statements, to initialize variables, or as default parameters in functions and constructors.


To use this library include generic_enum and generic_enum_annotation as dependency in your pubspec.yaml file. Include generic_enum_builder, source_gen, build_runner as dev_dependencies.

To create a generic enum class, say DpiResolution, the following steps are required:

  1. Extend GenericEnum<T>. To use the serialization methods, T should have fromJson and toJson methods.
  2. Define a private const constructor that calls the super constructor and passes on the value of type T.
  3. Define the static const instances of DpiResolution. You may capitalize instance names to mark them as constants.

The following steps are optional. They are only required if one needs access to a list of all defined values and instances or if json-serialization is needed. In principle, a map containing values and instances and serialization functions could be maintained manually. When defining several generic enumeration classes it might be more convenient to use a builder.

  1. Annotate the class with @GenerateValueMap or @GenerateFromJson. Note: Since generic_enum_builder version 0.1.7 @GenerateFromJson triggers the build of the value-instance map as well as the _$<ClassName>FromJson function.

  2. Define an accessor for the private variable _$<ClassName>ValueMap.

  3. Define a name factory constructor named .fromJson pointing to the function _$<ClassName>FromJson.

    import 'package:generic_enum/generic_enum.dart';
    import 'package:generic_enum_annotation/generic_enum_annotation.dart';
    //   0. Add a part statement pointing to the generated file.
    part 'dpi_resolution.g.dart';
    //   1. Extend GenericEnum<T>
    @GenerateFromJson()   //       <----------- 4. Annotate class
    class DpiResolution extends GenericEnum<int> {
      // 2. Define a private const constructor that calls the super constructor
      //    and passes on the value of type int.
      const DpiResolution._(int value) : super(value);
      // 3. Define static constant instances of type DpiResolution
      static const DpiResolution LOW = DpiResolution._(90);
      static const DpiResolution MEDIUM = DpiResolution._(300);
      static const DpiResolution HIGH = DpiResolution._(600);
      // 5. Give access to _valueMap and
      static Map<int, DpiResolution> get valueMap => _$DpiResolutionValueMap;
      // 6. Define the named factory constructor .fromJson:
      factory DpiResolution.fromJson(Map<String,dynamic> json)
          => _$DpiResolutionFromJson(json);
  4. Configure the build targets (and amend the generate_for entry). In your local build.yaml file add the following targets:

          # Configure the builder `pkg_name|builder_name`
            # Only run this builder on the specified input.
            enabled: true
              - lib/*.dart
          # Configure the builder `pkg_name|builder_name`
            # Only run this builder on the specified input.
            enabled: true
              - lib/*.dart
  5. Build the project by running the command

    $ pub run build_runner build --delete-conflicting-outputs


GenericEnum instances and their value are compile-time constants and can be used in switch statements to initalize other constants, final variables, or as parameters or default parameters in constructors and functions.

The sample class ScannerSettings (defined below) illustrates the use of a generic enum.

The value of generic enums can be accessed directly using dot notation (like in the initializer statement below).

class ScannerSettings{

  const ScannerSettings({
    this.dpiResolution = DpiResolution.Medium,
  ):_dipRes = dpiResolution.value; // Access value using dot-notation.

  final DpiResolution dpiResolution;
  final int _dpiRes;
  final ScanMode;
  final ScanSize;


Further examples on how to define and build generic enumeration classes can be found in the library generic_enum_example.

For details of how to use generic enums as annotations and how to retrieve their value using Dart's static analyzer package see example.

Features and bugs

Please file feature requests and bugs at the issue tracker.