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Referential Transparency

Randy Secrist edited this page Feb 26, 2014 · 3 revisions

Webmachine goes to great lengths to help your resource functions be as referentially transparent as possible. By "referentially transparent" we mean that given the same input {ReqData, Context} the function will return the same output {Result, ReqData, Context} and that side effects will be insignificant from the point of view of Webmachine's execution.


Since resource functions are generally referentially transparent, many things are easier -- testing, debugging, and even static analysis and reasoning about your web application.


Application State

We don't try to force you into pure referential transparency; we give you as big a hole as you want via Context. As that term is application-specific, you can put database handles, server process identifiers, or anything else you like in there and we won't try to stop you.

Streamed Body

The streamed body feature exists to allow resources to consume or produce request/response bodies a hunk at a time without ever having the whole thing in memory. While the continuation-passing style used in the streaming API is friendly to general functional analysis, due to the necessary side-effect of reading or writing to sockets the stream bodies cannot be treated in quite the same way as other uses of the ReqData interface. Luckily, it is easy to inspect a ReqData to see if this is the case in any individual resource or request instance.