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Aggregates

Build your aggregates using standard Elixir modules and functions, with structs to hold state. There is no external dependency requirement.

An aggregate is comprised of its state, public command functions, and state mutators.

Aggregate state

Use the defstruct keyword to define the aggregate state and fields.

defmodule ExampleAggregate do
  defstruct [:uuid, :name]
end

Command functions

A command function receives the aggregate's state and the command to execute. It must return the resultant domain events, which may be one event or multiple events.

To respond without returning an event you can return nil or an empty list [].

For business rule violations and errors you may return an {:error, error} tagged tuple or raise an exception.

Name your public command functions execute/2 to dispatch commands directly to the aggregate without requiring an intermediate command handler.

defmodule ExampleAggregate do
  def execute(%ExampleAggregate{uuid: nil}, %Create{uuid: uuid, name: name}) do
    %Created{uuid: uuid, name: name}
  end

  def execute(%ExampleAggregate{}, %Create{}),
    do: {:error, :already_created}
end

State mutators

The state of an aggregate can only be mutated by applying a domain event to its state. This is achieved by an apply/2 function that receives the state and the domain event. It returns the modified state.

Pattern matching is used to invoke the respective apply/2 function for an event. These functions must never fail as they are used when rebuilding the aggregate state from its history of domain events. You cannot reject the event once it has occurred.

defmodule ExampleAggregate do
  def apply(%ExampleAggregate{}, %Created{uuid: uuid, name: name}) do
    %ExampleAggregate{uuid: uuid, name: name}
  end
end

Example aggregate

You can define your aggregate with public API functions using the language of your domain. In this bank account example, the public function to open a new account is open_account/3:

defmodule BankAccount do
  defstruct [:account_number, :balance]

  # public command API

  def open_account(%BankAccount{account_number: nil}, account_number, initial_balance)
    when initial_balance > 0
  do
    %BankAccountOpened{account_number: account_number, initial_balance: initial_balance}
  end

  def open_account(%BankAccount{}, _account_number, initial_balance)
    when initial_balance <= 0
  do
    {:error, :initial_balance_must_be_above_zero}
  end

  def open_account(%BankAccount{}, _account_number, _initial_balance) do
    {:error, :account_already_opened}
  end

  # state mutators

  def apply(%BankAccount{} = account, %BankAccountOpened{account_number: account_number, initial_balance: initial_balance}) do
    %BankAccount{account |
      account_number: account_number,
      balance: initial_balance
    }
  end
end

With this approach you must dispatch the command to a command handler:

defmodule Commanded.ExampleDomain.OpenAccountHandler do
  alias BankAccount
  alias Commands.OpenAccount

  @behaviour Commanded.Commands.Handler

  def handle(%BankAccount{} = aggregate, %OpenAccount{account_number: account_number, initial_balance: initial_balance}) do
    BankAccount.open_account(aggregate, account_number, initial_balance)
  end
end

An alternative approach is to expose one or more public command functions, execute/2, and use pattern matching on the command argument. With this approach you can route your commands directly to the aggregate.

In this example the execute/2 function pattern matches on the OpenAccount command module:

defmodule BankAccount do
  defstruct [:account_number, :balance]

  # public command API

  def execute(%BankAccount{account_number: nil}, %OpenAccount{account_number: account_number, initial_balance: initial_balance})
    when initial_balance > 0
  do
    %BankAccountOpened{account_number: account_number, initial_balance: initial_balance}
  end

  def execute(%BankAccount{}, %OpenAccount{initial_balance: initial_balance})
    when initial_balance <= 0
  do
    {:error, :initial_balance_must_be_above_zero}
  end

  def execute(%BankAccount{}, %OpenAccount{}) do
    {:error, :account_already_opened}
  end

  # state mutators

  def apply(%BankAccount{} = account, %BankAccountOpened{account_number: account_number, initial_balance: initial_balance}) do
    %BankAccount{account |
      account_number: account_number,
      balance: initial_balance
    }
  end
end

Using Commanded.Aggregate.Multi to return multiple events

Sometimes you need to create multiple events from a single command. You can use Commanded.Aggregate.Multi to help track the events and update the aggregate state. This can be useful when you want to emit multiple events that depend upon the aggregate state being updated.

Any errors encountered will be returned to the caller, the modified aggregate state and any pending events are discarded.

Example

In the example below, money is withdrawn from the bank account and the updated balance is used to check whether the account is overdrawn.

defmodule BankAccount do
  defstruct [
    account_number: nil,
    balance: 0,
    state: nil,
  ]

  alias Commanded.Aggregate.Multi

  # public command API

  def execute(
    %BankAccount{state: :active} = account,
    %WithdrawMoney{amount: amount})
    when is_number(amount) and amount > 0
  do
    account
    |> Multi.new()
    |> Multi.execute(&withdraw_money(&1, amount))
    |> Multi.execute(&check_balance/1)
  end

  # state mutators

  def apply(%BankAccount{} = state, %MoneyWithdrawn{balance: balance}),
    do: %BankAccount{state | balance: balance}

  def apply(%BankAccount{} = state, %AccountOverdrawn{}),
    do: %BankAccount{state | state: :overdrawn}

  # private helpers

  defp withdraw_money(%BankAccount{account_number: account_number, balance: balance}, amount) do
    %MoneyWithdrawn{
      account_number: account_number,
      amount: amount,
      balance: balance - amount
    }
  end

  defp check_balance(%BankAccount{account_number: account_number, balance: balance})
    when balance < 0
  do
    %AccountOverdrawn{account_number: account_number, balance: balance}
  end
  defp check_balance(%BankAccount{}), do: []
end

Aggregate state snapshots

A snapshot represents the aggregate state when all events to that point in time have been replayed. You can optionally configure state snapshotting for individual aggregates in your app configuration. Instead of loading every event for an aggregate when rebuilding its state, only the snapshot and any events appended since its creation are read. By default snapshotting is disabled for all aggregates.

As an example, assume a snapshot was taken after persisting an event for the aggregate at version 100. When the aggregate process is restarted we load and deserialize the snapshot data as the aggregate's initial state. Then we fetch and replay the aggregate's events after version 100.

This is a performance optimisation for aggregates that have a long lifetime or raise a large number of events. It limits the worst case scenario when rebuilding the aggregate state: it will need to read the snapshot and at most this many events from storage.

Use the following options to configure snapshots for an aggregate:

  • snapshot_every - snapshot aggregate state every so many events. Use nil to disable snapshotting, or exclude the configuration entirely.

  • snapshot_version - a non-negative integer indicating the version of the aggregate state snapshot. Incrementing this version forces any earlier recorded snapshots to be ignored when rebuilding aggregate state.

Example

In config/config.exs enable snapshots for ExampleAggregate after every ten events:

config :commanded, ExampleAggregate
  snapshot_every: 10,
  snapshot_version: 1

Snapshot serialization

Aggregate state will be serialized using the configured event store serializer, by default this stores the data as JSON. You can use the Commanded.Serialization.JsonDecoder protocol to decode the parsed JSON data into the expected types.

defmodule ExampleAggregate do
  defstruct [:name, :date]
end

defimpl Commanded.Serialization.JsonDecoder, for: ExampleAggregate do
  @doc """
  Parse the date included in the aggregate state
  """
  def decode(%ExampleAggregate{date: date} = state) do
    %ExampleAggregate{state |
      date: NaiveDateTime.from_iso8601!(date)
    }
  end
end

Rebuilding an aggregate snapshot

Whenever you change the structure of an aggregate's state you must increment the snapshot_version number. The aggregate state will be rebuilt from its events, ignoring any existing snapshots. They will be overwritten when the next snapshot is taken.