Accepted answer

If you look at the type signature of toIndexedSeq on List you'll see it takes a type parameter B, which can be any supertype of A:

def toIndexedSeq [B >: A] : IndexedSeq[B] 

If you leave out that type parameter then the compiler essentially has to guess what you meant, taking the most specific type possible. You could have meant List(3,2,1).toIndexedSeq[Any], which of course can't be sorted since there's no Ordering[Any]. It seems the compiler doesn't play "guess the type parameter" until the whole expression has been checked for correct typing (maybe someone who knows something about compiler internals can expand on this).

To make it work you can either a) provide the required type parameter yourself i.e.


or b) separate the expression into two so that the type parameter has to be inferred before calling sortBy:

val lst = List(3,2,1).toIndexedSeq; lst.sortBy(x=>x)


It's probably because sortBy takes a Function1 argument. The signature of sortBy is

def sortBy [B] (f: (A) => B)(implicit ord: Ordering[B]): IndexedSeq[A] 

whereas sorted (which you should use instead!) works fine with List(3,2,1).toIndexedSeq.sorted

def sorted [B >: A] (implicit ord: Ordering[B]): IndexedSeq[A] 

I'm not sure exactly why Function1 causes this problem and I'm going to bed so can't think about it further...

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