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How Functional Programming Made Me a Better Developer

With the rise in popularity recently, functional programming has become ""The Next Big Thing"". As of today, there are tons of frameworks and tools that can be used for front-end, back-end, desktop, and mobile development. With that being said, the majority of us are still using object-oriented languages for our day jobs and don't need to learn functional programming, right? In this talk, I'll walk you through my experiences learning functional programming over the last year, how my style of programming has changed, and how I now think about programming with regards to both functional and object-oriented paradigms.

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Cameron Presley
@pcameronpresley
Cameron@TheSoftwareMentor.com
How
Functional Programming
Made Me
a Better Developer
2
Hello!
3
4
“
The single responsibility principle states
that every module or class should have
responsibility over a single part of
the functionality provided by
the software, and that responsibility
should be entirely encapsulated by the
class.
-Wikipedia
5
“
The single responsibility principle states
that every module or class should have
responsibility over a single part of
the functionality provided by
the software, and that responsibility
should be entirely encapsulated by the
class.
-Wikipedia
6

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How Functional Programming Made Me a Better Developer

Editor's Notes

  1. The Road Taken Learning Functional Programming (i.e. What Got Me Started Down This Path?)
  2. Some SOLID Inspiration SOLID = Mnemonic for software designed By following SOLID we tend to write more maintainable software Want to focus on S (Single Responsibility Principle)
  3. Lot of small classes with a single public method A lot of ceremony Could use ReSharper or another tool to create the boilerplate, but how about eliminate the need for it?
  4. Asking the Twitterverse for help
  5. Like most things in software development, I wasn’t the first to come to this
  6. Chose F# Familiar with .NET Comfortable with the tooling Community resources
  7. I worked on/off with functional for a year Lots of heads down, then come up for air for a bit Rinse and repeat Took three attempts for me to really “get” it
  8. First Attempt!
  9. Decided to port a C# application (Task Snapper) Grabs a screenshot every so often Idea was to focus on the language, not how to solve the problem
  10. Defined a type Attached functions to it Some of those functions threw exceptions
  11. Defined a type Attached functions to it Some of those functions threw exceptions
  12. Defined a type Attached functions to it Some of those functions threw exceptions
  13. Defined a type Attached functions to it Some of those functions threw exceptions
  14. I wrote F# But wrote OO in FP Didn’t really see the point Need to learn more about FP
  15. Look ma, no exceptions! Learned more about data modeling (making illegal states unrepresentable) Game rules a bit more complicated than expected *Spent a lot of time learning the problem and attempting a solution, not porting
  16. Modeling Data and State using Discriminated Unions
  17. Using type aliases
  18. Making new types out of existing types using records
  19. No classes, no exceptions!
  20. 3rd Attempt
  21. Making Illegal States Unrepresentable
  22. Modeling how to turn a Card into a
  23. How to add two points together
  24. Reflection * Comfortable with handling errors without exceptions Using pattern matching more effectively Working with built-in List operators Map and Reduce Starting to think about how to use these concepts in C#
  25. Learned all of this cool stuff, how does it affect my coding habits now?
  26. Code is easy to test implies code is easy to maintain The opposite may hold then, hard to test code may not be maintainable What defines easy to test code?
  27. What’s easier to test? Which method would be easier to troubleshoot?
  28. Implies there are no side effects (databases, file systems, apis, etc…) Easiest thing to test because no dependencies are needed
  29. Elm Architecture (time traveling debugger) React with Redux (reducers)
  30. Pure because 3 will always return the same value
  31. Not pure because the API could fail or give me back different values
  32. Improved LINQ Skills
  33. When working with lists of data, here’s how I’d used to do it Quickly, what am I trying to do here?
  34. Before and after The one on the left, I have to keep track of what I’m doing The one on the right, I can trust that LINQ works and I’m plugging my business rules into the correct places
  35. Designing Interfaces that don’t suck
  36. Allows us to lean on the compiler
  37. Why doesn’t this work? Options have no clue about Id, FirstName or LastName
  38. Pattern match to figure out what to do. Compiler forced us to do that! Win!
  39. How I build software
  40. Getting data into the system
  41. Getting data out of the system
  42. Learning functional was hard for me Lots of failures, but improved incrementally Made me re-evaluate how I build software Still use functional concepts in my coding Even if I’m not using a functional language