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Functional Programming: Concepts & Advantages

Home » Functional Programming: Concepts & Advantages

Elixir is extremely well used at companies like WhatsApp and Netflix that handle a lot of data and need to do it fast. You can’t miss this one if you are doing something similar. For some reason favoured by people that wrote Apache Spark, it can be useful for big data processing, services, and other places where functional programming is amazing.

As a programmer, you probably want to write elegant, maintainable, scalable, predictable code. The principles of functional programming, or FP, can significantly aid in these goals. Functional programming means using functions to the best effect for creating clean and maintainable software. This article illustrates the concepts behind the functional paradigm with practical examples in JavaScript and Java.

Python Pandas DataFrames

Needs a lot of mocking; re-use is complex and requires consistent refactoring. There’s a need to create new objects every time for computation. Offers functional Constructs like Lazy Maps & Lists, etc., and supports nested functions. FP avoids concepts like mutable data and shared state that you’d find in Object-Oriented Programming. And what it delivers is precise and effective code that is easy to maintain. There’s a clear boundary between pure code and impure code (input/output).

You can implement lambda calculus in the program – You can use this to solve complex problems. Miranda – a lazy functional language – is first introduced by David Turner. OOP is centered around the concepts of classes and objects. Functional Programming focuses on functions and function calls to achieve a result. However, this changes the value of x, thus disqualifying it from being a pure function.

Passing values into a generator¶

Some common uses of functional programming are AI design, ML classification algorithms, financial programs, or advanced mathematical function models. Impure functions cannot be used or tested in isolation as they have dependencies. Functional langauges empazies on expressions and declarations rather than execution of statements. Therefore, unlike other procedures which depend on a local or global state, value output in FP depends only on the arguments passed to the function. Immutability comes into play frequently when we work with data structures.

what is functional programming

Tail recursion optimization can be implemented by transforming the program into continuation passing style during compiling, among other approaches. Functional programming languages are designed on the concept of mathematical functions that use conditional expressions and recursion to perform computation. Impure Functional Languages − These types of functional languages support the functional paradigms and imperative style programming. Another important torchbearer of the functional programming style is Haskell, which is used by Facebook in its anti-spam system. Even JavaScript, one of the most widely used programming languages, flaunts the properties of a dynamically typed functional language.

Functional Programming in Java with Examples

Sometimes, though, it’s convenient to be able to define an anonymous function on the fly, without having to give it a name. This class also has a parameterized constructor, getter methods for all variables, and no setter methods which each help to make this an immutable class. JavaScript has long offered functional capabilities due to its support for first-class functions. Functional programming has recently become more popular in JavaScript because it boosts performance when used in frameworks like Angular and React.

what is functional programming

Passing the results of functions into other functions, or even passing the functions themselves, in is extremely common in functional code. I included this brief explanation because of how often it is used. Functional programming is a sub-paradigm of the Declarative programming paradigm, with its own rules to follow when writing code.


Maintainability is a simple term which means FP programming is easier to maintain as you don’t need to worry about accidentally changing anything outside the given function. Immutable Data means that you should easily able to create data structures instead of modifying ones which is already exist. Functional programming principles can lead to positive results in your code, even if you’re not a purist. Function composition is when you combine multiple simple functions in order to create more complex ones. So, you could have an averageArray function that combines an average function with a sum function that sums up an array’s values. The individual functions are small and could be reused for other purposes, and in combination they perform a more complete task.

More popular programming languages like JavaScript or Python can also support FP one way or the other – either natively or with the right library. The built-in iter() function takes an arbitrary object and tries to return an iterator that will return the object’s contents or elements, raisingTypeError if the object doesn’t support iteration. Several of Python’s built-in data types support iteration, the most common being lists and dictionaries. An object is called iterable if you can get an iterator for it.

The 6 Most Popular Functional Programming Languages

One of the main benefits of the function interface is that it allows you to write code that is more concise and expressive. By defining functions as values and passing them around as arguments or return values, developers can create more modular and reusable code. Also, by using lambdas to define functions, Java code can be more expressive and easier to read. The following table lists some of the most notable and popular programming languages that support functional programming.

  • Now let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of functional programming.
  • Basically, recursive functions repeatedly call themselves, until the base case is reached.
  • How to Use Python Lambda Functions Learn about Python lambda functions.
  • Groupby() assumes that the underlying iterable’s contents will already be sorted based on the key.
  • The tools to be functional are there, should you choose to use them.
  • I started by saying that functional programming was programming considered as “math,” and that’s at least partially correct.

Functional programming is heavily influenced by category theory. Lazy evaluation may also speed up the program, even asymptotically, whereas it may slow it down at most by a constant factor . Launchbury 1993 discusses theoretical issues related to memory leaks from lazy evaluation, and O’Sullivan et al. 2008 give some practical advice for analyzing and fixing them. However, the most general implementations of lazy evaluation making extensive use of dereferenced code and data perform poorly on modern processors with deep pipelines and multi-level caches . Harper 2009 proposes including both strict and lazy evaluation in the same language, using the language’s type system to distinguish them. Bugs-Free Code − Functional programming does not support state, so there are no side-effect results and we can write error-free codes.

Functions as first-class entities

As it is, functional programming is ideal for developing code for distributed systems and complex backends, but that isn’t all it can do. Whether you need frontend or backend, it doesn’t matter, there is an FP language for everything nowadays. In recent times, functional programming has invaded codebases all around the world. The time complexity of this program is O, where n is the number of elements in the list.

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