st

sum-types

Create and match against sum types in Javascript

Showing:

Popularity

Downloads/wk

3.8K

GitHub Stars

7

Maintenance

Last Commit

5yrs ago

Contributors

1

Package

Dependencies

1

License

ISC

Type Definitions

Tree-Shakeable

No?

Categories

Readme

Sum Types in Javascript

Build Status

This is a library to define sum type constructors and open values by matching against different constructors. The package will help you to write more readable, robust, and expressive Javascript code.

When should I use sum types? If you have switch ... case or multiple if ... else if statements in your code there is a good chance sum types will make your code more readable, expressive, and robust. This is especially the case if multiple functions with switch statements operate on the same type of values.

API | Motivation

API

Install from NPM

npm install --save sum-types

import 'sum-types'

import {makeSum, caseof} from 'sum-types'

makeSum()

Creates an map of constructor functions from constructor definitions

let T = makeSum({
  A (x, y, z) {
    return {x, y, z, all: [x, y, z]}
  },
  // More constructors ...
})

The return value T is a map that has a constructor functions for each function given in the argument object. The constructors need not be invoked with the new operator. In particular the following is true.

T.A() instanceof T.A
T.B() instanceof T.B

If the value for a key in the constructor definition is a function it is called with the arguments passed to the constructor. The result must be an object that is then assigned to the instance.

let a = T.A('x', 'y', 'z')
a.x === 'x'
// ...
a.all[2] === 'z'

If the value of for a key is an array of strings the constructor arguments are mapped to properties according to the names in the array.

let T = makeSum({
  B: ['foo', 'bar'],
})
let b = T.B(0, 1)
b.foo === 0
b.bar === 1

caseof()

The caseof() function accepts to arguments. The first is the value to be matched and the second is a list of constructor-function pairs. The function checks if the value is an instance of a constructor in the list, applies the corresponding function and returns the result.

let value = new C();
let result = caseof(value, [
  [C, (c) => c],
  [D, (d) => null]
])
result === value

In this example the function (c) => c will be called with value and its result we be returned by caseof().

The function will throw a TypeError when the result is unhandled.

You can give multiple constructors for the same value

caseof(value, [
  [[C,D], handle],
  // ...
])

The handle function will be called for values that are either an instance of C or D.

You can provide a default handler by specifying null as the constructor

caseof(value, [
  // ...
  [null, handleOtherValues]
])

caseofEq()

Added in v0.9.4

import {caseofEq, otherwise} from 'sum-types'

The caseofEq() function matches against patterns using strict equality (===).

const result = caseofEq(value, [
  ['A', () => 'a'],
  ['B', 'C', () => 'bc'],
  [otherwise, () => 'otherwise'],
])

If the value is A the result will be a. If the value is either B or C the result will be bc. In all other cases the result will be otherwise.

Note that the syntax is slightly different from caseof(): Multiple patterns are not wrapped in an array.

Motivation

This is a small example motivating the use of sum types in data modelling and the use of this library in particular.

The Use Case

We want to write a function parseAndPrint that will parse a string into a JSON object and print it on the console. If the parsing fails we want to print an error. As an additional twist we also want to print information on how many atomic values (string, number, booleans, null) the parsed object contains.

To make our code modular we want to separate the parsing and the printing.

function parseAndPrint (str) {
  printResult(parse(str))
}

(Note that we decided not to throw an error when parsing fails. This is a conscious choice to make our code compose better.)

Lets look at the implementation of printResult first. The key point is that we need to distinguish between a parsing success and failure.

function printResult (result) {
  if (result.type === 'success') {
    console.log(`String parsed as ${result.value} with ${result.atoms} atoms`)
  } else if (result.type === 'failure')
    console.log(`Failed to parse string: ${result.message}`)
  }
}

The function accepts the parser result as an argument. To distinguish between a success result and a failure we use a simple type tag on the result object.

With the shape of a parsing result defined we implement our parser.

function parse (str) {
  try {
    let value = JSON.parse(str)
    return {type: 'success', atoms: getAtomNumber(value), value: value}
  } catch (e) {
    return {type: 'failure', message: e.message}
  }
}

Although the implementation seems concise, we will see that there are a number of problems with this approach when we want to extend our code.

Adding a Parser

Assume that we want to create another implementation of parse that uses a different parser internally but returns the same result object. That other parser is called rawParseFast and returns an object or null if parsing failed.

function parseFast (str) {
  let value = rawParseFast(str);
  if (value === null) {
    return {type: 'failure', message: 'Parsing failed'}
  } else {
    return {type: 'success', atoms: getAtomNumber(value), value: value}
  }
}

We immediately see that we have duplicated code in our two parsing implementations. To abstract this we create two constructors.

function ResultSuccess (value) {
  this.value = value
  this.atoms = getAtomNumber(value)
}

function ResultFailure (message) {
  this.message = message
}

Note that we have omitted the type property from the constructors. This is because we also change the printing function to something more robust

function printResult (result) {
  if (result instanceof ResultSuccess) {
    console.log(`String parsed as ${result.value} with ${result.atoms} atoms`)
  } else if (result instanceof ResultFailure)
    console.log(`Failed to parse string: ${result.error}`)
  } else {
    throw new TypeError(`expected ${result} to be parse result`)
  }
}

This function now catches wrong parameters and does not use the brittle string approach to select the result case. In turn our parsing functions now looks like this

function parse (str) {
  try {
    let value = JSON.parse(str)
    return new ParseSuccess(value)
  } catch (e) {
    return new ParseFailure(e.message)
  }
}

function parseFast (str) {
  let value = rawParseFast(str);
  if (value === null) {
    return ParseFailure('Parsing failed')
  } else {
    return ParseSuccess(value)
  }
}

Handling Parser Results

We now turn our eye towards the printResult function. We want print horizontal lines before and after the actual message to highlight it in the console. We could accomplish this by adding two console.log statements to each case but we choose a different route.

function printResult (result) {
  let message
  if (result instanceof ResultSuccess) {
    message = `String parsed as ${result.value} with ${result.atoms} atoms`
  } else if (result instanceof ResultFailure)
    message = `Failed to parse string: ${result.error}`
  } else {
    throw new TypeError(`expected ${result} to be parse result`)
  }
  console.log('=============')
  console.log(message)
  console.log('=============')
}

We immediately make two observations: Firstly, the if ... else if is not an expression which leads to some awkwardness with the message variable. And secondly, there is a lot boilerplate involved: The segments message = _ and else if (result instance of _) are repeated multiple times.

If we are going to implement another printer we will run into the same issues in addition to the repeated throw new TypeError() statement.

A quick look at the documentation of caseof reveals that it is exactly the kind of function that will remove this boilerplate.

Putting It All Together

Using the sum-types library we obtain the following readable and robust implementation.

const Result = makeSum({
  Success (value) {
    let atoms = getAtomNumber(value)
    return {atoms, value}
  },
  Failure: ['message']
})

function parse (str) {
  try {
    let value = JSON.parse(str)
    return Result.Success(value)
  } catch (e) {
    return Result.Failure(e.message)
  }
}

function parseFast (str) {
  let value = rawParseFast(str);
  if (value === null) {
    return Result.Failure('Parsing failed')
  } else {
    return Result.Success(value)
  }
}

function printResult (result) {
  let message = caseof(result, [
    [Result.Success, ({value, atoms}) => {
      return `String parsed as ${value} with ${atoms} atoms`
    }],
    [Result.Failure, ({message}) => `Failed to parse string: ${message}`]
  ])
  console.log('=============')
  console.log(message)
  console.log('=============')
}

Rate & Review

Great Documentation0
Easy to Use0
Performant0
Highly Customizable0
Bleeding Edge0
Responsive Maintainers0
Poor Documentation0
Hard to Use0
Slow0
Buggy0
Abandoned0
Unwelcoming Community0
100
No reviews found
Be the first to rate

Alternatives

No alternatives found

Tutorials

No tutorials found
Add a tutorial