github / email

Curried Elixir: Flip

In the previous post, we implemented a curry function for Elixir:

iex> f = curry(&
iex> f.(1..3).(&"i = #{&1}")
["i = 1", "i = 2", "i = 3"]

Currying on its own is nice, but it also gives us the ability to easily define a flip function that would let us flip the order of the first two arguments of a curried function:

iex> f = curry(&
iex> flipped = flip(f)
iex> f.(&"i = #{&1}").(1..3)
["i = 1", "i = 2", "i = 3"]

The only thing we have to do is wrap the given curried function in a chain of two anonymous functions, and reverse the order of the arguments:

defmodule Func do
  def flip(fun) when is_function(fun) do
    fn b ->
      fn a -> fun.(a).(b) end

And this is how you could use it:

iex> curried_add = curry(&Kernel.+/2)
iex> curried_mul = curry(&Kernel.*/2)
iex> curried_map = curry(&
iex> flipped_map = flip(curried_map)
iex> map_3 = curried_map.(1..3)
iex> f = flipped_map.(map_3)
iex> f.([curried_add.(2), curried_mul.(3)])
[[3, 4, 5], [3, 6, 9]]
iex> f.([curried_add.(1), curried_mul.(4)])
[[2, 3, 4], [4, 8, 12]]

It would be a lot more useful if the standard library functions were able to handle our curried functions (for example, Enum.reduce/3 expects a 2-arity function as its third argument, not a curried 2-arity function), but I never said we were building something useful 🤷