Announcing - KeywordLens - A library for dealing with nested data structures

What’s it all about?

A keyword lens is a nested keyword-like structure used to describe paths into certain data types. It is similar to the list you can provide to Ecto’s Repo.preload/2

You can describe a KeywordLens like this:

[a: :b, c: [d: :e]]

Such a list is handy for describing subsets of nested data structures. For example, you can imagine the following KeywordLens: [a: :b] applied to this map: %{a: %{b: 1}} points to the value 1. In contrast this KeywordLens: [:a, :b] applied to this map %{a: 1, b: 2} points to both values 1 and 2.

It’s not a proper Keyword list because we allow any key for convenience, so these are valid:

[{"a", :b}]
[a: [{"b", [c: :d]}]
[{%{}, :b}]
[{1, {2, 3}}]

One KeywordLens can point to many different values inside a given data structure.
Here are some examples of different KeywordLenses and the unique set of lenses they represent.

keyword_lens = [a: :b]
lenses = [[:a], [:b]]

keyword_lens = [a: [b: [:c, :d]]]
lenses = [[:a, :b, :c], [:a, :b, :d]]

keyword_lens = [a: [:z, b: [:c, d: :e]]]
lenses = [[:a, :z], [:a, :b, :c], [:a, :b, :d, :e]]

keyword_lens = [:a, "b", :c]
lenses = [[:a], ["b"], [:c]]

You can use KeywordLens.Helpers.expand/1 to see which unique lenses are encoded in a given KeywordLens.

KeywordLens.Helpers.expand([a: :b])
[:a, :b]

KeywordLens.Helpers.expand([a: [b: [:c, :d]]])
[[:a, :b, :c], [:a, :b, :d]]

This library provides a protocol you can implement for your own data structures and structs. We provide a map implementation to get started.

Examples{a: %{b: 1}}, [a: :b], &(&1 + 1))
%{a: %{b: 2}}

data = %{a: 1, b: 2}
reducer = fn {key, value}, acc ->
  {:cont, Map.merge(acc, %{key => value + 1})}
KeywordLens.reduce_while(data, [:a, :b], %{}, reducer)
%{a: 2, b: 3}

The implementation uses zipper like traversal so it is memory efficient.

1 Like

I didn’t actually post a link to the library…


Thanks @Adzz, for the lib! I would suggest to add some small example closer to real world usage where it could be applied.
That comparison with get_in/update_in in the bottom of the is helpful though.

Thanks that’s a great suggestion i shall do that.

I’ve been working on getting it working more fully with more of the enum functions for now and making it more fully featured. Updates to follow!