There are three very commonly used operations in functional programming. Mapping is iterating over elements of a container and applying a function to them. Filtering excludes some elements from the input container. Folding is another name for reducing, and refers to iterating over a container in order to calculate some kind of value.
In Elm, each type of container has to provide its own implementation of these functions, so we have, for example,
map function iterates over every element of the container, returning a new container with the same number of elements:
map : (a -> b) -> List a -> List b List.map sqrt [2, 3, 5, 7, 11] -- [1.4142135623730951,1.7320508075688772,2.23606797749979, -- 2.6457513110645907,3.3166247903554] : List Float
Each element of the input list is passed to the first argument which is a function taking an argument of element type and returning the same or different type.
filter is used to get a subset of elements:
filter : (a -> Bool) -> List a -> List a List.filter canAddUsers [Engineer, Driver, Foreman, OfficeManager] -- [Foreman,OfficeManager] : List User
filter returns a list of the same type as the input list, with the same or smaller number of elements.
There are two functions able to reduce a container to a single value, which is called folding in Elm. These functions are
List.foldl (\a b -> if String.length a > String.length b then a else b) "" ["one", "three", "two", "four"] -- "three" : String
The difference between them is that
foldl iterates over the list from the first element to the last – that is, starting from the left, and
foldr iterates in the opposite direction, starting from the end of the list (or the right side):
List.foldl String.append "" ["a", "b", "c"] -- returns "cba" List.foldr String.append "" ["a", "b", "c"] -- returns "abc"
foldl returns “cba” rather than “abc” is that
foldl passes each element as the first argument to
append, so we’re effectively prepending rather than appending:
foldl : (a -> b -> b) -> b -> List a -> b
If you’d like to go beyond Elm basics, and feel as confident writing Elm as you are with your current language, check out my book, Practical Elm. It will help you learn how to deal with practical tasks that come up when writing real world applications — the kind that you’d put into production at work.
My book, Practical Elm for a Busy Developer, skips the basics and gets right into explaining how to do practical stuff. Things like building out the UI, communicating with servers, parsing JSON, structuring the application as it grows, testing, and so on. No handholding — the focus is on giving you more substance.
It’s up to date with Elm 0.19.
Pop in your email to get a sample chapter.
(You will also get notifications of new posts along with other mailing list only freebies.)