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README.md

Elm Cheat Sheet

Table of Contents

  1. Hello World
  2. Comments
  3. Modules
  4. Tools
  5. HTML Embedding
  6. Primitives
  7. Collections
  8. Functions
  9. Types
  10. Type Aliases
  11. Type Annotation
  12. Operators
  13. Control Statements
  14. Ports

Elm in a nutshell

  • purely functional language
  • statically typed
  • no runtime exceptions
  • outperforms most popular rendering libraries
  • package manager
  • built-in tooling
  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript interoperability
  • clean syntax
  • I like frontend again...

Hello World

File HelloWorld.elm:

import Html exposing (h1, text)
import Html.Attributes exposing (id)

-- Hello world example
main =
  h1 [id "hw"] [text "Hello World!"]

Comments

-- Single line comment

{-
Multi-line comment
-}

Comments for package documentation

Modules

-- Defining a module that exports everything
module Mymodule exposing (..)

-- Export only specified entities
module Mymodule exposing (Type, value)

-- Export all or specific states of type
module Mymodule exposing
    ( Error(Forbidden, Timeout)
    , Stuff(..)
    )

type Error
    = Forbidden String
    | Timeout String
    | NotFound String

Imports

-- qualified imports
import String                       -- String.toUpper, String.repeat
import String as Str                -- Str.toUpper, Str.repeat

-- unqualified imports
import Mymodule exposing (..)                 -- Error, Stuff
import Mymodule exposing ( Error )            -- Error
import Mymodule exposing ( Error(..) )        -- Error, Forbidden, Timeout
import Mymodule exposing ( Error(Forbidden) ) -- Error, Forbidden

Tools

REPL

elm repl / elm-repl

Import required modules

> import List

Get function signature

> List.map
<function> : (a -> b) -> List a -> List b
> (++)
<function> : appendable -> appendable -> appendable

Elm expressions return resulting value and type

> 1 + 1
2 : number

Backslash \ is for multi-line expressions

> fn a b = \
|    a + b
<function> : number -> number -> number

Compile

elm make / elm-make

# Default compilation 
elm make HelloWorld.elm -> index.html

# Custom name
$ elm make HelloWorld.elm --output hw.js

# Multiple files
$ elm make HelloWorld.elm MyModule.elm --output hw.js

# With warnings
$ elm make HelloWorld.elm --warn

# To HTML
$ elm make HelloWorld.elm --output hw.html

Packaging

elm package / elm-package

Installation automatically adds dependencies in package.json.

# Install a package
$ elm-package install evancz/elm-html

# Specific version
$ elm-package install evancz/elm-html 1.0.0

# Diff two versions
$ elm-package diff evancz/virtual-dom  2.0.0 2.1.0
Comparing evancz/virtual-dom 2.0.0 to 2.1.0...
This is a MINOR change.

------ Changes to module VirtualDom - MINOR ------

    Added:
        attributeNS : String -> String -> String -> VirtualDom.Property

Documentation

Publishing a package requires well documented code.

module Documentation exposing
    ( Type
    , value
    , anyfinCanHappen
    )

{-| Module level documentation

# Just a header, what to include below
@docs Type, value

# About Anyfin
@docs anyfinCanHappen

-}

import Random exposing (int)

{-| Type level documentation comment -}
type Type = Bool

{-|-}
-- Empty comment above
value : Int
value = 1 + 1

{-| More on anyfinCanHappen -}
anyfinCanHappen : Generator Int
anyfinCanHappen =
    int 0 64

{-| This value is not exported, so isn't required -}
-- Use basic comment syntax
imNotExported =
    "Don't need to comment me"
  • Documentation comment starts {-| ends with -}
  • Module documentation comes after module declaration, before the imports
  • Functions are grouped into related sections by keyword @docs <args> and declared with Markdown
  • Each exported entity should have documentation comment on top of its declaration

Publish

Add README.md otherwise publishing will fail
All packages start with initial version 1.0.0
Versions all have exactly three parts: MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH

  • PATCH - the API is the same, no risk of breaking code
  • MINOR - values have been added, existing values are unchanged
  • MAJOR - existing values have been changed or removed

elm-package.json

  • source-directories - array of directories to look up for project source code inside the working directory
  • exposed-modules - modules that exposed to a user after publishing, kind of interface to your internal API.
# elm-package.json
source-directories": [
    ".",
    "SubOne",
    "SubTwo"
]
"exposed-modules": [
    "SubOne",
    "Goodmodule",
    "Module"
]

├── SubOne
│   └── SubOne.elm        # Compiled and exposed
├── SubTwo
│   └── SubTwo.elm        # Compiled, but unexposed
├── SubThree
│   └── SubThree.elm      # Compiler won't see the source, unexposed to the users
├── README.md
├── elm-package.json
├── Goodmodule.elm        # Compiled and exposed
└── Module.elm            # Compiled and exposed

Publish

$ git tag -a 1.0.0 -m "initial release"
$ git push --tags

$ elm-package publish

Updating

$ elm-package bump

$ git tag -a 1.0.1 -m "secondary release"
$ git push --tags

$ elm-package publish

HTML Embedding

Running fullscreen elm-make HelloWorld.elm -> elm.js

<script type="text/javascript" src="elm.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
    Elm.Main.fullscreen();
</script>

Embed explicitly in a html element

<script type="text/javascript" src="elm.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
    var elmHolder = document.getElementById('hw-wrapper');

    Elm.Main.embed(elmHolder);
</script>

Run without graphics

Elm.Main.worker();

Primitives

Numbers

Numeric types are Int and Float, number represents both Int and Float:

> 1
1 : number
> 2.0
2 : Float
> truncate 0.1
0 : Int
> truncate 1
1 : Int

Strings

String types are Char and String

> 'a'
'a' : Char
> "Hello"
"Hello" : String

Multi-line string

"""
Hello
World
"""

Single quotes are for char only

> 'ab'
-- SYNTAX PROBLEM --
> "ab"
"ab" : String

Booleans

> True
True : Bool
> False
False : Bool

Other

comparable - ints, floats, chars, strings, lists, tuples
appendable - strings, lists, text.
Kind of dynamic types are represented as a, b, c etc. meaning that you can pass any value, even functions

Collections

All values and data structures in Elm are immutable.

Lists

A list holds a collection of related values separated by commas and enclosed in square brackets. All the values in a list must have the same type:

> []
[] : List a
> [1,2,3]
[1,2,3] : List number
> ["a", "b", "c"]
["a","b","c"] : List String

Ways to create a list

> List.range 1 4
> [1,2,3,4]
> 1 :: [2,3,4]
> 1 :: 2 :: 3 :: 4 :: []

Tuples

Tuples package many expressions into a single expression. They have a minumum of two elements and maximum of nine. The type of a tuple records the number of components and each of their types.

> (1, "2", True)
(1,"2",True) : ( number, String, Bool )

It's also possible to use commas as a tuple function, like a prefix operation.

> (,,,) 1 True 'a' []
(1,True,'a',[]) : ( number, Bool, Char, List a )

Destructuring

(x, y) = (1, 2)
> x
1 : number

Records

A record is a collection of key/value pairs, similar to objects in JavaScript or dictionary in Python

myRecord =
 { style = "Blue",
   number = 1,
   isCool = True
 }

Accessing records

> myRecord.style
"Blue" : String
> .style myRecord
"Blue" : String

Updating records returns a new record

> updatedRecord = { myRecord | style = "Red", number = 10, isCool = False }
> myRecord.style
"Blue" : String
> updatedRecord.style
"Red" : String

Destructuring

{ style, number, isCool } = myRecord
> style
"Blue" : String

Other

Core library also has:

Functions

Basics

-- function name | arguments names = function body
sum a b = a + b

-- combine arguments in a tuple
sum (a, b) = a + b

All functions in Elm are curried by default.
If you have "a function of 2 arguments", it's really a function that takes one argument and returns a function that takes another argument:

-- Both are equal
myFunction arg1 arg2
((myFunction arg1) arg2)

-- Partial application
> minus x y = (-) x y
<function> : number -> number -> number
> minus1 = minus 1
<function> : number -> number
> minus1 11
-10 : number

Anonymous

Also known as lambdas

-- (\function arguments -> function body)
-- parenthesized, content starts with backslash
(\n -> n < 0)
(\x y -> x * y)

Prefix

Prefix notation is when we use operators as regular functions by enclosing them in parentheses.

-- Normally you would do this
> "abcde" ++ "fghij"
"abcdefghij" : String

-- Prefix
> (++) "abcde" "fghij"
"abcdefghij" : String

Types

Union Types

Elm allows to create custom types known as union types.
The expression below creates a type which can have one of the values (or tags) from the right. Union types tightly coupled with case-of statement.

type Movement = Right | Left | Stop

Tags bring additional information, after tag itself comes a type or multiple types.

type Movement
    = Right Int
    | Left Int
    | Stop Bool
    | Coordinates (Float, Float)

-- passing to the function
myFunction ( Coordinates (45.7, 67.5) )

Union types can also have type variables

type Person a
  = Name String
  | Surname String
  | Age Int
  | About a

Maybe

A Maybe can help you with optional arguments, error handling, and records with optional fields. Think of it as a kind of null

-- Maybe resides in a module
import Maybe exposing ( Maybe(..) )

-- Takes an argument that can be filled with any value
type Maybe a = Just a | Nothing

Type annotation explicitly tells that it will give back an Int or it won't.

getId : Int -> Maybe Int
getId id =
  if id >= 0 then
    Just id
  else
    Nothing

Type Aliases

You can give existing types a custom name with type alias

type alias Name = String
type alias Dob = String

type alias Record = { name: Name, dob: Dob }

We can use it later annotating function

record : Record
record =
    { name = "Dave", dob = "27/08/1999 }

But still type alias equals to it's parent type

type alias Name = String

name : Name
name =
  "Dave"

secondName : String
secondName =
  "Dave"

-- True
name == secondName

Type Annotation

Elm, like most ML dialects, automatically infers most types.

-- function name : 1st arg type -> 2nd arg type -> return type
fnc : Int -> List -> Int

Example below is read as function that takes an a value and returns a b value, list of a values returns a list of b values

map: (a -> b) -> List a -> List b

Pattern matching on record fields

-- Requires the argument with x and y fields
multiply {x,y} =
    x * y

Annotating records

coordinates : { x : Float, y : Float }
coordinates =
    { x = 0,
      y = 0
    }

Operators

In a nutshell Elm operators are functions that take two arguments.

Arithmetic

Operator Description Type hint
+ addition number -> number -> number
- subtraction number -> number -> number
* multiplication number -> number -> number
/ floating point division Float -> Float -> Float
// integer division, discard the reminder Int -> Int -> Int
^ exponentiation number -> number -> number
% modulo Int -> Int -> Int

Bitwise

Operator Description Type hint
and bitwise AND Int -> Int -> Int
or bitwise OR Int -> Int -> Int
xor biwise XOR Int -> Int -> Int

Comparison

Operator Description Type hint
== equal comparable -> comparable -> Bool
/= not equal comparable -> comparable -> Bool
< less than comparable -> comparable -> Bool
<= less than or equal comparable -> comparable -> Bool
> greater than comparable -> comparable -> Bool
>= greater than or equal comparable -> comparable -> Bool

Logical

Operator Description Type hint
&& logical and Bool -> Bool -> Bool
|| logical or Bool -> Bool -> Bool
not logical not Bool -> Bool

Function Composition

Operator Description Type hint
<| backward (pipe) function application f <| x == f x (a -> b) -> a -> b
|> forward (pipe) function application x |> f == f x a -> (a -> b) -> b
<< composes functions into one, arguments first applied to the function from the right side (b -> c) -> (a -> b) -> a -> c
>> same as before except arguments first applied to the function from the left side (a -> b) -> (b -> c) -> a -> c

Other

Operator Description Type hints
++ put appendable things together appendable -> appendable -> appendable
:: add an element to the front of a list a -> List a -> List a
as keyword that creates aliases for values (x, y) as t == t = (x, y) a -> a

Control statements

If

All the branches of an if need to match so that no matter which one we take, we get back the same type of value overall.

if a < 1 then
    "It's zero"
else
    "Non-zero"

-- Multi-line.
if y > 0 then
    "Greater"
else if x /= 0 then
    "Not equals"
else
    "silence"

Elm does not have the notion of “truthiness”.
The condition must evaluate to True or False, and nothing else.

> if 1 then "nope" else "nope again"
- TYPE MISMATCH --

Case-of

Case tries to match the value of type against patterns defined after the of keyword

type User
    = Activated
    | Deleted

update state =
  case state of
    Activated ->
      -- do something
    Deleted ->
      -- do again

In case of passing tags with additional properties, parameters are passed along with type checking

type User
    = Activated Int
    | Deleted (Int, String)

update state =
  case state of
    Activated value ->
      -- do something with value
    Deleted values ->
      -- do something with values

update ( Activated 1 )
update ( Deleted (0, "gone") )

Let-in

let allows you to define intermediate values.

let
  x = 3 * 8
  y = 4 ^ 2
in
  x + y

let helps simplify complex expressions

let
  activeUsers = List.filter (\u -> u.state /= 1) model.users
in
  { model | user = activeUsers}

Ports

Ports are a general purpose way to communicate with JavaScript.

From JavaScript to Elm

-- declare that this module uses ports
port module Main exposing (..)

-- define port
port portName : (String -> msg) -> Sub msg
var main = Elm.Main.embed(div);

// send into port
main.ports.portName.send("Port value");

From Elm to JavaScript

port showPortName : String -> Cmd msg
function logName(name) {
    console.log(name);
}

// subscribe to receive events
main.ports.showPortName.subscribe(logName);

// unsubscribe
main.ports.showPortName.unsubscribe(logName);

Type interoperability

JavaScript Elm
Booleans Bool
Numbers Int, Float
Strings Char, String
Arrays List, Array, Tuples (fixed-length)
Objects Records
JSON Json.Encode.Value
null Maybe Nothing