Instead of imagining that our main task is to instruct a computer what to do, let us concentrate rather on explaining to human beings what we want a computer to do.
– Donald Knuth
One of the things I really like about working with Lo-Dash is its object
constraint notation. For example, suppose I want to find an item in a list
x === 10. Lo-Dash lets me express that like this:
I find this syntax easy to write, and at least as important, easy to read. The intent is perfectly clear.
Naturally, I wanted to incorporate this elegant syntax into Ramda. But this would not be an easy fit. Ramda is significantly different from Lo-Dash. Since Ramda emphasizes function composition, the biggest obstacle to integrating the object constraint syntax is that Ramda methods always take the function first and the list last.
I pitched the idea to my co-author, Scott. We didn’t want to rewrite Ramda to type-check the arguments. So we found solution that preserves the composability of Ramda functions, while gaining the readable, expressive object syntax. And then we took it a little bit further….
Here is what the API looks like:
where takes a spec object and a test object and returns
true if the test
satisfies the spec (
false otherwise, of course). Since Ramda automatically
curries its methods, when called with one argument (the spec) as in the
where returns a function that takes a test object. This makes
it a good helper for generating predicates for methods like
This would be a fine place to stop, and we could be satisfied with a nice
object-to-predicate method. But this
where can only express equality
relations. If we want to match objects where
x > 10, or more complex
queries, such as
x > 2 AND y > (x * 2) AND y % 2 === 0, then we would have
to write a function.
So we opted to take the object constraint notation one step further: If a property on the spec object maps to a function, we use that function as the constraint on that property. Here’s how the examples above would look:
This is not as immediately readable as the straight equality object syntax. But I like specifying the constraints property-by-property and having the ability to express more complex relations than just equality. And we still have the object notation for plain equality relations.
If you’re curious, here is how
where is implemented in Ramda: