Comparing IsType with Traditional Type Assertions in Go

Go's introduction of generics in version 1.18 has brought a new level of type introspection with the IsType function. This article will compare the IsType function with traditional type assertions in Go, examining their syntax, usage, and performance implications.


Type assertions in Go have traditionally been performed using the syntax value.(Type), which can lead to verbose code and potential runtime panics if the assertion fails. The generics feature introduced in Go 1.18 has provided a new way to perform type checks with the IsType function, offering a more concise and safe alternative.

Traditional Type Assertions

Before generics, type assertions looked like this:

var v interface{} = "example"
if s, ok := v.(string); ok {
    fmt.Println("Value is a string:", s)
} else {
    fmt.Println("Value is not a string")

This approach requires a two-value assignment to check if the assertion succeeded (ok == true) or failed (ok == false).

The IsType Function

With generics, the IsType function provides a more streamlined way to perform type assertions:

func IsType[T any](value any) bool {
    _, ok := value.(T)
    return ok

var v interface{} = "example"
if IsType[string](v) {
    fmt.Println("Value is a string")
} else {
    fmt.Println("Value is not a string")

IsType is a generic function that takes any type T and a value of type any, then returns a bool indicating whether the value can be asserted to the type T.



  • Traditional Type Assertions require a two-step process where you first assert the type and then check the boolean result.
  • IsType simplifies this to a single function call that returns a boolean, making the code more readable and concise.


  • Traditional assertions can cause a runtime panic if the assertion fails and is not handled with a double return value.
  • IsType inherently handles the check safely, as it is designed to return a boolean rather than panic the program.


  • Traditional type assertions are well-optimized by the Go compiler.
  • IsType, while slightly more abstract, has a minimal performance overhead, as shown in benchmarks conducted by the Go community.


  • Both methods are flexible and can be used with any type, including user-defined types.
  • IsType benefits from the expressiveness of generics, allowing it to be used in a more general context.

Use Cases

  • Traditional Type Assertions are suitable for situations where you need the actual value after asserting the type.
  • IsType is ideal when you only need to know the type for conditional logic or when building type-checking utilities.


The introduction of the IsType function with generics in Go 1.18 provides developers with a more modern and safer way to perform type assertions. While traditional type assertions are well-established and performant, IsType offers a cleaner syntax and built-in safety, making it an attractive choice for type introspection in Go. As the language continues to evolve, it's likely that generics and functions like IsType will play an increasingly important role in Go's type system.