Refactoring Javascript Logic to Use a Functional Approach

Refactoring Javascript Logic to Use a Functional Approach

or Functional-Light Javascript .Refactoring Javascript Logic to Use a Functional Approach

Years ago, a very sharp mathematician turned software developer asked me if I knew anything about functional programming. ‘No’ I replied. I saw the gleam in his eye as he rose from his seat to walk over to the whiteboard where an hour-long impromptu lecture would begin.

He furiously drew a spattering of math on the board. There were pointy hats over numbers, I think an infinity symbol entered the picture. There were many functions… so many functions. They all kinda looked like this f(g(x))

It was amazing! At the end of that hour, I knew just as much about functional programming as when I started, but now I was damn sure not going to try and use it in real life. It seemed you needed a four year degree in a math related field to understand what the hell was going on here.

Thanks, I replied. Perhaps my dutiful nodding throughout the lecture had duped him into thinking I had gleaned something from it. This was absolutely not the case.

Over the years, I would continue to hear about functional programming and its benefits. I figured there had to be a lot of mathematicians out there writing all this code. Finally, it began to click and I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to be a functional programming purist to get a lot of its benefits when writing JavaScript.

While monads, unary functions and referential transparency are terms you might hear tossed around when people speak or write about functional programming, there are a few major concepts that can help you approach a more functional style when writing code that are fairly simple to understand and apply.

The goal/benefit of writing JavaScript in a functional style is that your code becomes more easily testable, easier to understand, has less density for bugs to hide in, is more flexible and thus easier to refactor and more reliable.

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