Fun with mapping over tuples

During writing some code related to Arrays , I encountered a situation in which I wanted to map a function over a tuple.

Now, code that does this is very easy to write if you know exactly what size of tuple you have.
If you don’t… it becomes a little tedious, as Erlang supports tuples with up to 255 elements (EDIT: Turns out that nowadays it supports tuples with up to 2^24 number of elements… :open_mouth: ).
But in Elixir, we can have the code write itself, with some simple metaprogramming:

defmodule TupleMap do
  @max_tuple_size 255

  def map_tuple({}, _fun), do: {}
  def map_tuple({val}, fun), do: {fun.(val)}
  def map_tuple({val1, val2}, fun), do: {fun.(val1), fun.(val2)}

  # ... etc.
  # But writing this by hand is tiresome. So instead:

  for index <- 3..@max_tuple_size do
    vars =, fn index -> Macro.var(:"val#{index}", nil) end)
    vars_tuple = {:{}, [], vars}

    result_vars =, fn var ->
        quote do
          unquote(Macro.var(:fun, nil)).(unquote(var))

    result_tuple = {:{}, [], result_vars}

    def map_tuple(unquote(vars_tuple), fun) do

  # For comparison:
  def map_tuple_through_list(tuple, fun) do
    list =  Tuple.to_list(tuple)
    result_list =, list)

I ran a small benchmark on this code, for tuples with up to 20 elements (it would definitely be interesting to run a longer benchmark later).
The results are interesting: It seems that mapping over a tuple is ~30%-50% faster than mapping over a list.
The memory usage (not shown in this picture) is also only 1/4th of that of a list.

This benchmark is of course not very scientific, but I still thought it was interesting and something that might be nice to share.

I don’t know how frequent it is to map a function over all elements in a tuple, but if someone wants above code could easily be wrapped up in a library. Or even better: changed into a macro which includes a defp-implementation in a module that needs it, which will then guarantee that the tuple-call is inlined.

EDIT: I couldn’t help myself and have run a larger benchmark: :sweat_smile: