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An eDSL for (asynchronous) actions.
version 1.1.0
license BSD3
native-modules False
elm-version 0.16.0 <= v < 0.17.0
Tag 1.1.0
Committed At 2016-01-08 15:00:51 UTC
evancz/elm-http 3.0.0 <= v < 4.0.0 3.0.1
evancz/elm-html 4.0.0 <= v < 5.0.0 4.0.2
elm-lang/core 3.0.0 <= v < 4.0.0 3.0.0


oprocesso - a combinator-based elm framework

Josef K. foi certamente vítima de alguma calúnia, pois, numa bela manhã, sem ter feito nada de mal, foi detido.


This framework is at the moment at a state of a bare proof of concept. The chances are high that it will suffer significant changes. It might even be the case that the key idea is flawed, I don't know yet.

The library itself only depends on elm-lang/core. The example(s) added more constraints. Sorry, did not mess with these for now.

Dive Into

This README is meant to be an overall overview; it gives the general concept, then the semantics and eventually the implementation details. I'll keep it updated as I go along. Also, I tried to give examples within the documentation of the library itself. You might have a look (especially into src\Oprocesso.elm).

Besides I'll keep adding examples to examples/ -- if you have some concept of the general model-view-controller style in elm, you should get the idea just by starring long enough into examples/JsonEcho.elm.

Basic Concept

The framework oprocesso is meant to give a way to structure an elm app; especially it manages all the signal processing; all what is left is writing the meat of the app.

The concept is based on the strict model-view-controller framework which elm suggests, at least when building HTML apps (see the TodoMVC example), but it shifts it in an important way: instead of defining an Action type, which inhabitant's get send to the action mailbox whenever there is some action happening, one defines Oprocesso.Actions which can be thought of as functions of type Model -> Model and which get instead send to the action mailbox.

So, instead of

data Action = NoAction | Typing String | ...

update : Action -> Model -> Model
update act m =
  case act of
    NoAction   -> m
    Typing s   -> { m | typed <- s }

inputfield : String -> Html
inputfield inp =
  input [ value inp
        , on "input" ( Typing targetValue)
                     (Signal.message actionbox.address) ] []

{- ... -}

with oprocesso one can write:

typing : String -> (Model -> Model)
typing s =
  \m -> { m | typed <- s }


inputfield : String -> Html
inputfield inp =
  input [ value inp
        , on "input" ( (pureParam typing) targetValue)
                     (Signal.message actionbox.address) ] []

One might say it is just a shift from a first order Action to a second order Model -> Model which gets foldp'ed instead. This shift (which was actually brought up by Max Goldstein in his answer to a question of mine), although, leads to two points which I consider as an improvement (from now on, "Actions" are meant to be Oprocesso.Actions):

  1. Actions are based upon functions; those functions can be combined in a natural way to form new functions, so starting with small, obvious actions, one can build up more complex ones -- which stay therefore obvious. (For those who had the time and pleasure to build their own [monadic] parser combinators [in Haskell], the shift described above might already have rang a bell. Although, Oprocesso.Actions are not in the same kind monadic as parser combinators are -- they could, but they don't need to.)
  2. Actions can be asynchronous; this is due to the fact, that actions can be made out of Tasks.

Framework's Entities

Actions and Modifiers

In the center there is an Oprocesso.Action x Model; it represents an action on the model, i.e. something that describes how to map a certain model onto another. There are two differnt sorts of actions:

  • pure actions: these just change the model, so they can be thought of as functions of type Model -> Model
  • asynchronous actions: these build up a pure action on the current model which gets executed asynchronously. They can be thought of functions of type Model -> Task x (Model -> Model).

Since pure actions are almost just functions of type Model -> Model they have a close relationship to such functions. Usually pure actions are made out of Model -> Model by lifting them with pure and pureParam:

addEntry : Oprocesso.Modifier Model
addEntry =
  \m -> { m | entries <- m.entries ++ [m.typed] }

setInput : String -> Oprocesso.Modifier Model
setInput s =
  \m -> { m | typed <- s }

  Now we have:

    pure addEntry : Oprocesso.Action x Model


    pureParam setInput : String -> Oprocesso.Action x Model

These actions are called pure since they do not involve any IO, any outside computation (that may fail). So, they are pure in a functional sense.

On the other hand, asynchronous actions involving outside computation. They may send a http request, doing some database communicating etc. Hence they are related to Tasks of a certain kind, such, which are modifying the model, i.e. of type Task error (model -> model). These tasks are used to make up asynchronous actions with async and asyncOn:

echoJson : Task String (Model -> Model)
echoJson =
  let vvDecoder_ =
        object2 (,)
          ("v1" := string)
          ("v2" := string)
  in Task.mapError toString (Http.get vvDecoder_ (""))
     `Task.andThen` \(s1, s2) -> Task.succeed <| addEntry ("Echoed: " ++ s1 ++ "/" ++ s2)

requestJson : String -> Task String (Model -> Model)
requestJson typd =
  let vvDecoder_ =
        object2 (,)
          ("v1" := string)
          ("v2" := string)
  in Task.mapError toString (Http.get vvDecoder_ ("" ++ typd))
     `Task.andThen` \(s1, s2) -> Task.succeed <| addEntry ("Echoed: " ++ s1 ++ "/" ++ s2)


    async echoJson : Oprocesso.Action Model String


    requestJson `asyncOn` .typed : Oprocesso.Action Model String


    .typed : Model -> String

So the function pure has its dual in async, where asyncOn is connected to pureParam in some sense.

Flow Control

Flow Control Operators

Okay, so I've explained how to make up actions from simple building blocks; these so gained actions are somewhat overt. Also, oprocesso gives one the possibility to make up more complex actions by combining actions themselves.

There are three flow control operators:

  1. thenDo : Action error model -> Action error model -> Action error model (or (>>-) before the error handling and (-<<) after) which just glues two actions together such that they get executed one right after the other. That means: if the first action is asynchronous the second one will wait until the first returns and will only get invoked, if the first one succeeded.
  2. next : Action error model -> Action error model -> Action error model (or (=>>)), which is the asynchronous combinator. It invokes the first action and right after that invokes the second one.
  3. onfail : Action error model -> (error -> Action x model) -> Action x model (or (!<<)) which is the catch combinator. It provides an error handler as its second argument which gets run if the first action is an asynchronous action which failed. Otherwise it does not alter the action. Considering its type, onfail is meant to make the error type meaningless.

The idea is to define the needed tasks and Model -> Model inhabitants and then lift and glue them together into complex actions:

  {-| 'makeRequest'
  - disables the input box
  - starts an asynchronous request based on the current input
    !<< prints out error if happened
  - enables the input box
  - adds what was typed
  - empties the input box right after. -}

  makeRequest : Action x Model
  makeRequest =
            >>- requestJson `asyncOn` .typed
                !<< \s -> pureParam addEntry <| "Error: " ++ s
            -<< unblockInput
                pure addTyped
            >>- pureParam setInput ""

  {- ... used in the following way:

      onEnter (.address Oprocesso.actionbox) makeRequest


As a good practice, the top-level actions you want to invoke by UI events should be of type Action x Model, so that any non-caught exception will raise a type error.

Setup oprocesso

First, you need some imports:

import  Oprocesso
import  Oprocesso.Types         as OT
import  Oprocesso.EDSL          exposing (..)

where I propose to expose the lifts from Oprocesso, i.e. import Oprocesso exposing (async, asyncOn, task, pure, pureParam).

Next, there is one port you need to run, which runs the tasks and calls the actions by feeding them back into the actionbox,

port asyncrunner : Signal (Task x ())
port asyncrunner = Oprocesso.ioport initmodel

where initmodel is the initial model.

At last, there is Oprocesso.hook : model -> Signal model, you can use for what ever you want. Mainly:

main : Signal Html
main = view (Oprocesso.hook initmodel)

Here, the parameter to Oprocesso.hook is -- again, ... it's a flaw -- the initial model. And it has to be the same you've used on Oprocesso.ioport.

Inner Concepts

Actions as Lists of Operations

Box-Port Cycles

Actions aren't Monadic

Future Plans

Some questions I want to consider so far:

  • What about more complex apps, involving fpsWhen ?