An Introduction to Multikey Indexes with Examples


After understanding single-field and compound indexes, now is the time to learn about multikey indexes. When a field has an array value, an index key is generated for each of its array elements. These indexes are referred as multikey indexes. They can be used with arrays that have scalar values as well as those with nested documents.

To generate a multikey index, you have to use the standard db.collection.createIndex() method. Such indexes are automatically generated by MongoDB whenever it senses an indexed field specified as an array. Hence, there is no need for explicit definition of a multikey index.

Examples

While working with a standard array, let’s suppose we have a collection “student”.

{ _id: 21, name: “Adam”, marks: [ 80, 50, 90 ] }

To build an index on the “marks” field, write the following query.

db.student.createIndex( { marks: 1 } )

As the marks field is an array, thus this index is an example of a multikey index. All of the keys (80, 50, and 90) in its elements point to the same document.

To create a multikey index for array fields having embedded documents, let’s suppose we have a collection “products”.

{

_id: 5,

name: “tshirt”,

details: [

{ size: “large”, type: “polo”, stock:50 },

{ size: “small”, type: “crew neck”, stock:40 },

{ size: “medium”, type: “v neck”, stock: 60 }

]

}

{

_id: 6,

name: “pants”,

details: [

{ size: “large”, type: “cargo”, stock: 35 },

{ size: “small”, type: “jeans”, stock: 65 },

{ size: “medium”, type: “harem”, stock: 10 },

{ size: “large”, type: “cotton”, stock: 10 }

]

}

{

_id: 7,

name: “jacket”,

details: [

{ size: “large”, type: “bomber”, stock: 35 },

{ size: “medium”, type: “leather”, stock: 25 },

{ size: “medium”, type: “parka”, stock: 45 }

]

}

We can build a multikey index with the details.size and details.stock fields.

db.products.createIndex( { “details.size”: 1, “details.stock”: 1 } )

This index is now good to go against queries which have only a single field of “details.size” as well as queries having the both of the indexed fields. As such, these types of queries would benefit from the index.

db.products.find( { “details.size”: “medium” } )

db.products.find( { “details.size”: “small”, “details.stock”: { $gt: 10 } } )

Bounds in Multikey Index

Bounds represent the limits of an index .i.e. how much it needs to scan for searching a query’s results. If there are more than a single predicate with an index, then MongoDB integrates them through compounding or intersection. So what do we mean by intersection and compounding?

Intersection

Bounds intersection point towards the presence of “AND” (logical conjunction) for bounds. For example, if there are two bounds [ 4, Infinity]  and [ – Infinity, 8 ], then intersection bounds process [[4, 8 ]] When $elemMatch operation is used, then MongoDB applies intersection on multikey index bounds.

 

What Is $elemMatch?

Before moving forward, let’s understand the use of $elemMatch first.

$elemMatch is used for matching documents in array field where at the bare minimum, atleast one of the element is matched with the query. Bear in mind, that the operator does not work with $text and $where operators. For a basic example, consider a “student” collection.

{ _id: 8, marks: [ 72, 75, 78 ] }

{ _id: 9, marks: [ 65, 78, 79 ] }

The following query only processes a match with documents in which the “marks” array has at least a single element which is less than 75 and greater or equal to 70.

db.student.find(

{ marks: { $elemMatch: { $gte: 70, $lt: 75 } } }

In response, the result set is comprised of the following output.

{ “_id” : 8, “marks” : [72, 75, 78 ] }

Despite the fact that both 75 and 78 do not conform to the conditions but because 72 had a matched, hence the $elemMatch selected it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For instance, we have a collection student which has a field “name” and an array field “marks”.

{ _id: 4, name: “ABC”, marks: [ 1, 10 ] }

{ _id: 5, name: “XYZ”, marks: [ 5, 4 ] }

To build a multikey index with the “marks” array.

db.student.createIndex( { marks: 1 } )

Now, the following query makes use of $elemMatch which means that the array must have at least one element which fulfils the condition of both predicates.

db.student.find( { marks : { $elemMatch: { $gte: 4, $lte: 8 } } } )

Computing the predicates one by one:

  • For the first predicate, the bounds are equal to or greater than 4 [ [ 4, Infinity ] ].
  • For the second predicate, the bounds are equal to or less than 8 [ [ – Infinity, 8 ] ].

Since $elemMatch is used here, therefore MongoDB can apply intersection on the bounds and integrate it like the following.

marks: [ [ 4, 8 ] ]

On the other hand, if the $elemMatch is not used, then MongoDB applies intersection on the multikey index bounds. For instance, check the following query.

db.student.find( { marks : { $gte: 4, $lte: 8 } } )

The query processes the marks array for atleast a single element which is equal to or greater than 4 “AND” atleast a single element which is equal to or less than 8. However, it is not necessary for a single element to conform to the requirements of both predicates, hence MongoDB does not apply intersection on the bounds and uses either [[4, Infinity]] or [[-Infinity, 8]].

Compounding

Compounding bounds means the use of bounds with compound index. For example, if there a compound index { x: 1, y:1 } which has a bound on the x field  [[4, Infinity] ] and a bound on the field y [[-Infinity, 8]]. By applying compounding,

{ x: [ [ 4, Infinity ] ], y: [ [ -Infinity, 8 ] ] }

Sometimes, MongoDB is unable to apply compounding on the given bounds. For such scenarios, it uses the bound on the leading field which in our example is x: [ [4, Infinity] ].

Suppose in our example indexing is applied on multiple fields, where one of the fields is an array. For instance, we have the collection student which stores the “name” and “marks” field.

{ _id: 10, name: “Adam”, marks: [ 1, 10 ] }

{ _id: 11, name: “William”, marks: [ 5, 4 ] }

Build a compound index with the “name” and the “marks” field.

db.student.createIndex( { name: 1, marks: 1 } )

In the following query, there is a condition which applies on both of the indexed keys.

db.student.find( { name: “William”, marks: { $gte: 4 } } )

Computing these predicates step-by-step.

  • For the “name” field, the bounds for the “William” predicate are the following [ [ “William”, “William” ] ].
  • For the “marks” field, the bounds for { $gte: 4 } predicate are [ [ 4, Infinity ] ].

MongoDB can apply compounding on both of these bounds.

{ name: [ [ “William”, “William” ] ], marks: [ [ 4, Infinity ] ] }

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Are Indexes in MongoDB?


What Are Indexes in MongoDB?

When a query is run in MongoDB, the program initiates a collection scan. All the documents which are stored in a collection have to be scanned so that only the appropriate documents can be matched. Obviously, this is a highly wasteful tactic as checking each document results in inefficient utilization of resources.

To address this issue, there is a certain feature in MongoDB known as indexes. Indexes perform as a filter so the scanning pool can be shortened and queries can be executed more “efficiently”. Indexes can be categorized as a “special” type of data structures.

Indexes save parts of a collection’s information (data). What they do is that they save a single or multiple fields’ value. The processing of an index’s content is done order-wise.

By default, MongoDB generates an index for the _id field whenever a collection is built. This index is unique. Due to the presence of this index, it is not possible to insert multiple documents which carry the exact same _id field value. Moreover, unlike other indexes, this index is un-droppable.

How to Create an Index?

Open your Mongo Shell and employ the method “db.collection.createIndex()” for the generation of an index. For the complete format, consider the following.

db.collection.createIndex( <key and index type specification>, <options> )

To develop our own index, let’s suppose we have a field for employee name as “ename”. We can generate an index on it.

db.employee.createIndex( { ename: -1 } )

Types

Indexes are classified in the following categories.

  • Single Field
  • Compound Index
  • Multikey
  • Text Indexes
  • 2dsphere Indexes
  • geoHaystack Indexes

 

Single Field Indexes

A single-field index is the simplest index of all. As the name suggests, it applies indexing on a single field. We begin our single-field example with a collection “student”. Now, this student collection carries documents like this:

{

“_id”: ObjectId(“681b13b5bc3446894d86cd342”),

“name”: Adam,

“marks”: 400,

“address”: { state: “TX”, city: “Fort Worth” }

}

To generate an index on the “marks” field, we can write the following query.

db.student.createIndex( { marks: 1 } )

We have now successfully generated an index which operates via an ascending order. This order is marked by the value of an index. With “1” as a value, you can define an index which arranges its contents by using the ascending order. On the other hand, a “-1” value defined an index by using the descending order. This index can now work with other queries that involve the use of “marks”. Some of their examples are:

db.student.find( { marks: 2 } )

db.student.find( { marks: { $gt: 5 } } )

In the second query, you might have noticed “$gt”. $gt is a MongoDB operator which translates to “greater than”. Similar operators are $gte (greater than and equal to), $lt (less than), and $lte (less than and equal to). In our upcoming examples, we are going to use these operators heavily. These are used for filtering out documents by specifying limits.

It is possible to apply indexing on the embedded documents too. This indexing requires the use of dot notation for the embedded documents. Continuing our “student” example,

{

“_id”: ObjectId(“681b13b5bc3446894d86cd342”),

“marks”: 500,

“address”: { state: “Virginia”, city: “Fairfax” }

}

We can apply indexing on the address.state field.

db.student.createIndex( { “address.state”: 1 } )

Whenever queries involving “address.state” are employed by the users, this index would support them. For instance,

db.student.find( { “address.state”: “FL” } )

db.student.find( { “address.city”: “Chicago”, “address.state”: “IL” } )

Likewise, it is possible to build indexes on the complete embedded document.

Suppose you have a collection “users” which contains the following data.

{

“_id”: ObjectId(“681d15b5be344699d86cd567”),

“gender”: “male”,

“education”: { high school: “ABC School”, college: “XYZ University” }

}

If you are familiar with MongoDB, then you know that “education” field is what we call an “embedded document”. This document contains two fields: high school and college. Now to apply indexing on the complete document, we can write the following.

db.users.createIndex( { education: 1 } )

This index can be used by queries like the following.

db.users.find( { education: { college: “XYZ University”, high_school: “ABC School” } } )

Compound Indexes

So far, we have only used a single field for indexing. However, MongoDB also supports the usage of multiple fields in an index. Such indexes are referred to as compound indexes. Bear in mind that there can be no more than 32 fields in compound indexes. To generate such an index, you have to follow this format where ‘f’ refers to the field name and ‘t’ refers to the index type.

db.collection.createIndex( { <f1>: <t1>, <f2>: <t2>, … } )

Suppose we have a collection “items” which stores these details.

{

“_id”: ObjectId(…),

“name”: “mouse”,

“category”: [“computer”, “hardware”],

“address”: “3rd Street Store”,

“quantity”: 80,

}

Compound index can be now applied on the “name” and “quantity” fields.

db.items.createIndex( { “name”: 1, “quantity”: 1 } )

Bear in mind that the order of fields in a compound index is crucial. The index will process by first referencing to the documents which are sorted according to the “name” field. Afterward, it will process the “quantity” field with the values of the sorted “name”.

Compound indexes are not only useful in supporting queries, which equal the index fields, but they also work with matched queries for the index field’s prefix. This means that the index works with queries that have only the “name” field as well as those that have the “quantity” field. For instance,

db.items.find( { name: “mouse” } )

db.items.find( { name: “mouse”, quantity: { $gt: 10 } } )

So far we have been using descending and ascending order with queries. Now, there is no issue in running it with single-field indexes but for the compound indexes, you have to analyze if your queries will work or not. For example, we have a collection “records” which stores documents having the fields “date” and “item”. When queries are used with this collection, then firstly, results are generated by arranging “item” in ascending order, and then a descending order is applied on the “date” values. For instance,

db.records.find().sort( { item: 1, date: -1 } )

Queries where we apply a descending order on the “item” and an ascending order on the “date” value work like:

db.records.find().sort( { item: -1, date: 1 } )

These sort operations can perfectly work with the queries like these:

db.records.createIndex( { “item” : 1, “date” : -1 } )

However, the point to note is that you cannot apply ascending order on both fields like the following.

db.records.find().sort( {“item”: 1, date: 1 } )

 

 

 

 

Design Patterns for Functional Programming


In software circles, a design pattern is a methodology and documented approach to a problem and its solution which is bound to be found repeatedly in several projects as a tumbling block. Software engineers customize these patterns according to their problem and form a solution for their respective applications. Patterns follow a formal structure to explain a problem and then go over a proposed answer as well as key points which are related to either the problem or the solution. A good pattern is one which is well known in the industry and used by the IT masses. For functional programming, there are several popular design patterns. Let’s go over some of these.

Monad

Monad is a design pattern which takes several functions and integrates them as a single function. It can be seen as a type of combinatory and is a core component of functional programming. In monad, a value is wrapped in a box which is then unwrapped and a function is passed to use the wrapped value.

To go into more technicalities, a monad can be classified into running on three basic principles.

·         A parameterized type M<T>

According to this rule, T can possess any type like String, Integer, hence it is optional.

·         A unit function T -> M<T>

According to this rule, there can be a function taking a type and its processing may return “Optional”. For instance, Optional.of(String) returns Optional<String>.

·         A bind operation: M<T> bind T -> M <U> = M<U>

According to this rule which is also known as showed operator due to the symbol >>==. For the monad, the bind operator is called. For instance, Optional<Integer>. Now this takes a lambda or function as an argument for instance like (Integer -> Optional<String> and returns and processes a Monad which has a different type.

Persistent Data Structures

In computer science, there is a concept known as a persistent data structure. Persistent data structure at their essence work like normal data structure but they preserve their older versions after modification. This means that these data structures are inherently immutable because apparently, the operations performed in such structures do not modify the structure in place. Persistent data structures are divided into three types:

  • When all the versions of a data structure can be accessed and only the latest version can be changed, then it is a partially persistent data structure.
  • When all the versions of a data structure can be accessed as well as changed, then it is a fully persistent data structure.
  • Sometimes due to a merge operation, a new version can be generated from two prior versions; such type of data structure is known as confluently persistent.

For data structure which does not show any persistence, the term “ephemeral” is used.

As you may have figured out by now, since persistent data structures enforce immutability, they are used heavily in functional programming. You can find persistent data structure implementations in all major functional programming language. For instance, in JavaScript Immutable.js is a library which is used for implementing persistent data structures. For example,

import { MapD } from ‘immutable’;

let employee = Map({

employeeName: ‘Brad’,

age: 27

});

employee.employeeName; // -> undefined

employee.get(’employeeName’); // -> ‘Brad’

Functors

In programming, containers are used to store data without assigning any method or properties to them. We just put a value inside a container which is then passed with the help of functional programming. A container only has to safely store the value and provide it to the developer in need. However, the values inside them cannot be modified. In functional programming, these containers provide a good advantage because they help with forming the foundation of functional construct and assist with asynchronous actions and pure functional error handling.

So why are we talking about containers? Because functors are a unique type of container. Functors are those containers which are coded with “map” function.

Among the simplest type of containers, we have arrays. Let’s see the following line in JavaScript.

const a1 = [10, 20,30, 40, 50];

Now to see a value of it, we can write.

Const x=y[1];

In functional, the array cannot be changed like.

a1.push(90)

However, new arrays can be created from an existing array. An array is theoretically a function. Technically, whenever a unary function is mapped with a container, then it is a functor. Here ‘mapped’ means that the container is used with a special function which is then applied to a unary function. For arrays, the map function is the special function. A map function processes the contents of an array and performs a special function for all the elements of the element step-by-step after which it responds with another array.

Zipper

A zipper is a design pattern which is used for the representation of an aggregate data structure. Such a pattern is good for codes where arbitrarily traversal is common and the contents can be modified, therefore it is usually used in purely functional programming environments. The concept of Zipper dates back to 1997 where Gérard Huet introduced a “gap buffer” strategy.

Zipper is a general concept and can be customized according to data structures like trees and lists. It is especially convenient for data structures which used recursion. When used with zipper, these data structure are known as “a list with zipper” or “a tree with zipper” for making it apparent that their implementation makes use of zipper pattern.

In simple terms, zipper with data structure has a hole. They are used for the manipulation and traversal in data structures where the hole indicates the present focus for the traversal. Zipper facilitates developers to easily move within the data structure.

Best Functional Programming Practices – When to Use Functional?


For any paradigm, the global developer community experiences several common issues in their development of projects. To counter the recurring issues, they begin exercising certain practices for getting the most out of a paradigm. For functional programming in Java too, there have been a number of practices which have been deemed as useful and valuable for programmers. Let’s go over some of them.

Default Methods

Functional interfaces remain “functional” even if default methods are added. Though, if more than one abstract method is added, then they are no longer a functional interface.

 

 

 

 

@FunctionalInterface

public interface Test {

String A();

default void defaultA() {}

}

As long as the abstract methods of functional interface retain identical signatures, they can be extended by other functional interfaces. For instance,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@FunctionalInterface

public interface TestExtended extends B, C {}

@FunctionalInterface

public interface B {

String A();

default void defaultA() {}

}

 

@FunctionalInterface

public interface C {

String A();

default void defaultB () {}

}

 

 

When usually interfaces are extended, they encounter certain issues. They are recurrent with functional interfaces too when they run with default methods. For instance, if the interfaces B and C have a default method known as defaultD()  then you may get the following error.

interface Test inherits unrelated defaults for defaultD() from types C and D…

To solve this error, the defaultD() method can be overridden with the Test interface.

It should be noted that from the software architecture perspective, the use of a lot of default methods in an interface is detrimental and discouraged. This is something which should be used for updating older interfaces while escaping any backward compatibility issue.

Method References

Many times, methods which were implemented before are called out by lambdas. Hence, for such cases, it is good to make use of method references, a new feature in Java 8.

For example, if we have the following lambda expression.

x -> x.toUpperCase();

Then it can be replaced by:

String::toUpperCase;

Now, this type of code does not only reduce line of codes but it is also quite readable.

Effectively Final

Whenever a variable is accessed which is not “final” and resides in lambda expression, then an error is likely to be caused. This is where “effectively final” comes into play. When a variable is only assigned once then the compiler thinks of it as a final variable. There is nothing wrong in using these types of variables in lambda expressions as their state is managed by the compiler and it can notify for an error as soon as their state is meddled with. For instance, the following code cannot work.

public void A(){

String lVar = “localvariable”;

Test test = parameter -> {

String lVar = parameter;

return lVar;

};

}

In return, the compiler may notify you that “lVar” does not need to be defined because it already has been in the scope.

No Mutation for Object Variables

Lambda expressions are predominantly used in parallelism or parallel computing because of their protection for threads. The paradigm “effectively final” can help at times but sometimes it is not good enough. An object’s value cannot be changed from the closing scope by lambdas. On the other hand, with mutable object variables, it is possible for a state in lambda expression to be modified. For instance check the following.

int[] n = new int[1];

Runnable rn = () -> n[0]++;

rn.run();

Now the above code is perfectly legal because the “n” variable stays “effectively final”. However, it has referenced an object and the state of that object can change. Hence, use this example to remember not writing code which may give rise to mutations.

When to Use Functional?

Before learning functional programming, you must be curious about its actual advantage over other paradigms. When you have a task at hand where you are dabbling with parallelism and concurrency, in such cases functional programming can be a good choice. In real life scenarios, for this purpose Erlang was used a lot in Erricson for its telecommunication work. Likewise, Whatsapp has always been involved in a similar use. Other success stories include the reputable Lucent.

For any individual who has dialed a number in the past three decades in US, there are strong possibilities of their use of devices which have code in a language known as Pdiff. Pdiff itself was created from a functional programming language, Standard ML.

Pdiff’s example can be used to recall functional programming’s brilliance with DSLs (domain specific languages). Sometimes, common programming languages like C++, C#, and Java struggle to create a solution for certain issues where DSLs were the life-savers. While DSLs are not used to design entire systems but they can prove invaluable to code one or two modules. Industry experts consider functional programming as an excellent option to write DSL.

Moreover, functional programming is quite good at solving algorithms, particularly those filled with mathematics. Mathematical problems can be solved well in functional, perhaps due to its closeness in theoretical foundations with mathematics.

When to Not Use Functional?

So when to not use functional programming? It is said that functional programming does not work well with the general “library glue code”. It is a disaster for recipe with the general building of structure classes which are used in mainstream development. This means that in case your code-base is filled with classes working like structures, and if the properties of your object are changing continuously, then functional is probably not the best idea.

Likewise, functional is also not good for GUIs (graphical user interface). The reason is that GUIs have always been deemed more suitable for OOP because of the reusability factor. In GUI applications, modules are derived with little changes from other modules. There is also the “state” factor as GUIs are stateful (at least in the view).

 

Dos and Don’ts of Functional Programming


While working with functional programming in Java, there are several do’s and don’ts. Let’s go over the most common ones. By making use of these tips, you can improve your functional programming code-base with good results.

Standard Functional Interfaces

The Functional interfaces in “java.util.function” are good enough to fulfill requirements for method references and lambda’s target types. As explained earlier, these interfaces are abstract, thereby making it easier to customize them freely into a lambda expression. Hence, before writing new functional interfaces, makes sure to check this package which may satisfy your requirements.

Suppose you have in interface FuncInt

@FunctionalInterface

public interface FuncInt {

String f1(String txt);

}

Now you have a class for using the interface with the name useFuncInt which has a method for sum.

public String sum(String txt, FuncInt) {

return FuncInt f1(txt);

}

For execution of it, you would have to add the following:

FuncInt fi = txt -> txt + ” coming from lambda”;

String output = useFuncInt.add(“Message “, useFuncInt);

Now, if you observe closely, you will realize that FuncInt is a function which takes one argument and returns with an answer. With the release of Java 8, this functionality is enabled through the interface in “Function<T,R> which is entailed in the package of “java.util.function”. Our FuncInt can be fully eliminated and our code can be modified to.

public String sum(String txt, Function<String, String> f) {

return f.apply(txt);

}

For execution, write the following:

Function<String, String> f =

parameter -> parameter + ” coming from lambda”;

String output = useFuncInt.sum(“Message “, f);

Annotation Matters

Make the use of annotation by adding functional interfaces with the help of @FunctionalInterface. If you are unfamiliar with annotations, then put it with a tag which is used to represent the metadata; this could be related to an interface, method, field, or class about any useful information that can prove to be helpful for the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) or the complier.

The @FunctionalInterface may not seem logical at the first glance because without adding it, the interface would work fine as a functional one as long it contains only one abstract method.

However, in large-scale projects where the increasing number of interfaces may overwhelm you, manual control is tricky and exhaustive; it becomes a nightmare to keep track of it. Sometimes, an interface which was created as a functional interface may get additional abstract methods, therefore ceasing to exist as a functional interface. This is where the @FunctionalInterface annotation works like a charm. By using it the complier would display an error whenever there is any intrusion by a programmer to change the structure of a functional interface and disrupt its “purity”. Likewise, while working in teams, it can be helpful for other coders to understand your code and identify functional interfaces easily.

Hence, always use something like this,

@FunctionalInterface

public interface FuncInt{

String printSomething();

}

Instead of writing something like this:

public interface FuncInt{

String printSomething();

}

Even if you are working on beginner projects, make it a habit to always add the annotation or you may face the repercussions in future.

Lambda Expressions Cannot Be Used Like Inner Classes

When an inner class is used, “scope” is generated. This means that we can add variables which are local with the enclosing scope after instantiating local variables having identical names. The keyword “this” can also be used in our class for referencing to its own instance.

With lambda expressions, we work by using enclosing scope. This means that variables cannot be overwritten in the body of the lambda expression from the enclosing scope. We can use “this” for referencing.

For instance, for our class UseTest, we have “test” as our instance variable:

private String txt = “Encircling the scope”

Now, you can use another method of our class with the following code and run it like this:

public String example()

{

Test test = new Test();

String mssg = “inner value of the class”

@Override

Public String returnSomething(String txt)

Return this.mssg;

}

};

String output = test.returnSomething(“”);

Test testLambda = parameter -> {

String mssg = “Lambda Message”;

return this.mssg;

};

String outputLambda= testLambda.returnSomething(“”);

return “Output: output = “ + output + “outputLambda = “ + outputLambda;

When you will run the “example” method, you may get the following: “Output: output =  inner value of the class, outputLambda = Encircling the scope

This means that you can access and use a local variable by accessing its instance. By using “this”, you might have used the variable “test” of the UseTest class but you were unable to get the “test” value which in entailed in the body of the lambda.

Lines of Code in Lambdas

Ideally, lambda expressions should comprise of a single line of code because this makes it a self-explanatory concrete implementation where the clear execution of an action at some data is represented.

If you require more lines for your functionality, then write something like this:

Test test = parameter -> generateText(txt);

private String generateText(String txt) {

String output = “Some Text” + txt;

// several lines of code

return output;

}

Refrain from writing something like this:

Test test = txt -> { String output= “Some Text” + txt;

// several lines of code

return output;

};

Though, it is important to note that sometimes, it is ok to have more than one line of lambda expressions where the use of another method may prove to be counter-productive.

Type of Parameters

The compilers are powerful enough to ascertain the types of parameters in lambda expressions with type inference. Hence, there is no need for adding the parameter type explicitly.

Don’t write something like this.

(String x, String y) -> x.toUpperCase() + y.toUpperCase();

Instead, write something like this,

(x, y) -> x.toUpperCase() + y.toUpperCase();

Java Lambdas


So far we have talked a lot about functional programming. We discussed the basics and even experimented with some coding of functional interfaces. Now is the right time to touch one of the most popular features of Java for functional paradigm, known as lambda expressions or simply lambdas.

What Is a Lambda Expression?

A lambda expression provides functionality for one or more functional interface’s instances with “concrete implementations”. Lambdas do not require the use of a class for their use. Importantly, these expressions can be viewed and worked by coding them as objects. This means that, like objects, it is possible to pass or run a lambda expression. The basic style for writing a lambda expression requires the use of an “arrow”. See below:

parameter à the expression body

On the left side, we have a “parameter”. We can write single or multiple parameters for our program. Likewise, it is not mandatory to specify the parameter type because compilers already ascertain the parameter type. If you are using a single parameter, then you may or may not add a round bracket.

However, if you intend to add multiple parameters, then make sure to use round brackets (). Sometimes, there is no need of parameters in a lambda expression. For such cases, it is possible to signify them by simple adding an unfilled round bracket. To avoid error, use round brackets for parameter whether you are using a 0, 1, or more parameters.

On the right side of the lambda expression, we can have an expression. This expression is entailed in curly brackets. Like parameters, you do not require brackets for a single expression while multiple expressions require one. However, unlike parameter, the return type of a function can be signified by the body expression.

Without Lambdas

To understand lambdas, check this simple example.

package fp;

public class withoutLambdas {

public static void main(String[] args) {

withoutLambdas wl = new withoutLambdas(); // generating instance for our object

String lText2 = “Working without lambda expressions”; // here we assign a string for the object’s method as a parameter

wl.printing(lText2);

}

public void printing(String lText) { // initializing a string

System.out.println(lText);              // creating a method to print the String

}

}

 

The output of the program is “Working without lambda expressions”. Now if you are familiar with OOP, then you can understand how the caller was unaware of the method’s implementation i.e. it was hidden from it. What is happening here is that the caller gets a variable which is then used by the “printing” method. This means we are dealing with a side effect here—a concept we explained in our previous posts.

Now let’s see another program in which we go one step ahead, from a variable to a behavior.

package fp;

public class withoutLambdas2 {

interface printingInfo {

void letsPrint(String someText);  //a functional interface

}

public void printingInfo2(String lText, printingInfo pi) {

pi.letsPrint(lText);

 

}

 

public static void main(String[] args) {

withoutLambdas2 wl2 = new withoutLambdas2(); // initializing instance

String lText = “So this is what a lambda expression is”; // Setting a value for the variable

printingInfo pi = new printingInfo() {

@Override // annotation for overriding and introducing new behavior for our interface method

public void letsPrint(String someText) {

System.out.println(someText);

}

};

wl2.printingInfo2 (lText, pi);

}

 

 

}

In this example the actual work to print the text was completed by the interface. We basically formulated and designed the code for our interface’s implementation. Now let’s use Lambdas to see how they provide an advantage.

 

package fp;

public class firstLambda {

 

interface printingInfo {

void letsPrint(String someText);    //a functional interface

}

public void printingInfo2(String lText, printingInfo pi) {

pi.letsPrint(lText);

}

 

public static void main(String[] args) {

firstLambda fl = new firstLambda();

String lText = “This is what Lambda expressions are”;

printingInfo pi = (String letsPrint)->{System.out.println(letsPrint);};

fl.printingInfo2(lText, pi);

}

See how we improved the code by integrating a line of lambda expression. As a result, we are able to remove the side effect too. What the expression did was use the parameter and processed it to generate a response. The expression after the arrow is what we call as a “concrete implementation”.