The High Order RubyistΒΆ

Authors:Robert Pitts
Time:1:30 pm - 1:50 pm

Functional programming in Ruby

So why bother? Ruby lets you write succinct code and easily create DSLs. Unfortunately as you write larger systems, maintenance becomes an issue. His theory is that by approaching problems more directly and declaratively will help with this issue.

Ruby includes some batteries that get you started on this approach. The Enumerable module includes common higher order functions. It also includes some helpful destructing syntax.

Ruby also has some first-ish class functions that look a lot like lambdas: blocks, procs, lambdas, [something else].

Ruby 1.9 added Proc.curry to support currying and partial application.

Continuations previously had a bad reputation in Ruby – poor performance and memory usage. callcc improves that performance. Note that continuations may be removed from a future version of Ruby, still under discussion

Tail call optimizations are available in Ruby 1.9. Not enabled by default, so you can either recompile or pass Ruby configuration.

In addition to these built-ins, there are other attempts to add functional properties to Ruby.

  • Hamster

    Similar semantics to core Ruby, except for some cases to address [im]mutability.

  • Stunted

    Allows you to define bags of functions in a module, and then mix those into other classes. Nice for composability.

  • Ruby#Facets

    Well tested and been around a while.

  • Celluloid

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