Now, I believe you will find it easy to complete the reverse example in the pattern matching section; it’s rather similar to repeat in structure. Pattern matching is one of the most powerful parts of Elixir. Any kind of control flow that you write, it’s a reasonable heuristic to check whether you can’t do it with pattern matching. Skip this section and move on to data types if you already know how to run elixir code.

Why developer experience is the key to better software, straight from the… After playing around for a bit, I don’t think it’s immediately obvious how to write something like match? There’s probably some cute Template Haskell thing for it, but I haven’t done anything with that, yet. How to Start Learning Computer Programming with Pictures It’s easy to see what examples do given outputs and some general knowledge. As you probably already guessed, in the shorthand version our parameters are available to us as &1, &2, &3, and so on. I have been writing Elixir full-time for about a year, but I came to it from Ruby.


But you can easily instantiate a struct with values other than default, update the values with the regular map functions, etc. Now, calling the struct will give me a named map with the default values. Structs are an upgrade of Elixir’s default key-value store, maps. In contrast to maps, the keys of a struct are set when initializing, and you can’t add new ones afterwards.

From now on iex sessions will be stripped down to focus on the code. If you haven’t yet installed Elixir, visit our installation page. Once you are done, you can run elixir –version to get the current Elixir version. Erlang Compatibility − Elixir code executes on the Erlang VM which provides developers the complete access to Erlang’s ecosystem.

Also, elixir programming language relies on underscores in order to make functions private to the modules. This chapter will focus on ensuring that Elixir is installed and that you can successfully run Elixir’s Interactive Shell, called IEx. Elixir supports pattern matching in function clauses. Therefore, instead of writing long-winded control flow statements, you can create multiple functions. For example, if we want to create our own iterable data structure and use it via Enum module, we need to implement all interface functions from the Enumerable protocol. Then we can work with our custom type using Enum module.

Add and Subtract lists with ++ and —

Higher-order functions take in other functions as arguments. A few examples of HOFs are map, filter, and reduce. While the syntax looks easy, Elixir code can sometimes be a puzzle even if you are a functional programming veteran. A collection of small Elixir programming language examples. Following words are reserved and cannot be used as variables, module or function names. Import is used to conveniently access functions from other modules.

We will start with the customary ‘Hello World’ program. I create educational content focused on technology for mobile and web applications. Hopefully, this article helps you rapidly get familiar with some of the most important bits of Elixir. Use allows you to inject functionality from one module into another. The order of your functions matters, as the first function to be true always runs first. Here’s an example of when used with the wrong function order.

Other Elixir cheatsheets

It may be helpful to relate case to switch-case statements found in other languages. You can access tuple-related functionality with the built-in Tuple module. Linked lists hold zero, one, or more elements in the chosen order.

🤯 If done correctly, this makes the code more extensible and easier to read. While we could usually do that with a loop, now we need another way. For example, here’s a function that makes a string into an exclamation sentence. Pattern matching works in function parameters too.

To fully explain it, we need to turn to recursive functions. In other words, you can overload functions via arity. Guards consist of when and a boolean expression, and are added to the function clause. They support only a limited set of expressions, which you can check out in the documentation.

Let’s imagine we wanted to get the age only if Andrew is of legal age. We can easily accomplish this with a guard, an additional construction that augments pattern matching. What happens here is that Elixir checks whether the structure of both sides is the same. If it is, unassigned variables on the left side get assigned the values from the right side.

Does it mean that Elixir is a totally different language? I would describe Elixir as 80% of Erlang and 20% of important stuff that drastically improved usability of the language, especially when writing web-applications. The funny thing is that even Joe Armstrong once said that Erlang is not suited for web-development.

Named functions are defined within a module using the def keyword . We’ll learn more about Modules in the next lessons, for now we’ll focus on the named functions alone. For now, let’s start by running iex (or iex.bat if you are on Windows PowerShell, where iex is a PowerShell command) which stands for Interactive Elixir. In interactive mode, we can type any Elixir expression and get its result.

There’s frequently a load of novel code patterns, techniques, and features. Also elixir relies on underscores to make functions private Full time job during coding boot camp : learnprogramming to modules. If you name a function with a leading underscore in a module, and import that module, this function will not be imported.


This is used in Ecto and Phoenix to provide means for third-party libraries to extend a range of different supported types without changing original libraries. It adds a few sane default conventions for things like documentation, testing, and private/public visibility in modules. We will use the interactive shell quite a lot in the next chapters to get a bit more familiar with the language constructs and basic types, starting in the next chapter.

Palette commands

When iterating over data, usually a list, you can use the Enum module provided by Elixir. Lists, ranges, and maps all work with the Enum module. We use the same & operator to capture a function, allowing us to pass named functions as arguments. Guard expressions provide a concise What is Agile Testing way to define functions that accept a limited set of values based on some condition. Elixir is compiled to Erlang byte-code and it tries very hard to provide cool features with zero overhead. So, it’s unlikely that writing Erlang code you will get faster execution.

Each module can have one and only one struct, and we tend to define it somewhere at the top of the module. For example, if we need to do something a set amount of times, we can create a recursive function with a number as an argument. In Elixir, we use recursion much more frequently than you would in a non-FP language since we don’t have access to things like loops. One of these functions in Elixir-speak is actually add/2, the other is add/3. Let’s say we need to read a list of lines from a file, make them into exclamation sentences, and print them out to the console. To start the Elixir interactive shell, enter the following command.

Use is a reasonably complicated topic, and it’s good enough if you understand it at a surface level early on. For further reading, see an elixirschool tutorial on use or read the documentation. For example, here is how you would access the puts/1 function from the IO module. Case takes in a value and executes a different path in the case statement depending on the value.

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