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A framework that tends to support functional programming in Swift

  • The latest stable release is 1.0.0. Released 2 years ago.
  • The last commit to master was 2 years ago.

Swift Version Compatibility

  • 1.0.0 and master
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  • 1.0.0 and master
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This is a Swift framework to support functional programming in many of my other frameworks. Gathering those functionalities together in to one framework would facilitate using FP in other frameworks or applications.

Some codes is from other repositories in github, I will provide a link to that repo.

Most of ideas has Haskell or other FP language counterpart. To start introduce this framework, I would recommend the user to have a look my article about Type Theory in Swift.

Type Features

There are some different kinds of types having their counterpart in Swift.

Sum Type, the counterpart in Swift is enum.

Product Type, the counterpart in Swift is tuple and struct.

Exponential Type, the counterpart in Swift is function and closure.

Existential Type, the counterpart in Swift is protocol.

Recursive type, the counterpart in Swift is indirect enum which some cases refer to its Self.

Different kind of type would have different property to facilitate solution of some problems. The functionalities of framework would heavily utilize these concepts.


Another important feature that FP would have is laziness. Laziness means delay evaluation until its value is needed. And Swift is an eager evaluation language, that is when you pass an expression to a function call, the expression would be evaluated first, then pass the resulted value to that function as an argument. Therefore to implement laziness in Swift, we need function or closure, (exponential type), to wrap the expression. In other words, tell me how to generate the value when needed instead of give me the exact value.

The following is an example to take advantage of Laziness in Swift.

In Haskell, The fibonacci sequence is calculated by:

fibs = 0 : 1 : zipWith (+) fibs (tail fibs)

Because Haskell is a lazy langauge, it only partially evaluate the expression when it needs to. (evaluate up to WHNF)

Another feature of Haskell makes that expression efficient is function value cache, that is if using the same argument to call the same function, it will return the cached value after its first call.

Therefore in Swift, we can implement this fib expression as following. Noticed this implement doesn't have cache feature.

public enum List<A> {
  case Nil
  indirect case Cons(A, () -> List<A>)

public func zipList<A, B, C>(xs: @escaping () -> List<A>,
                             ys: @escaping () -> List<B>,
                             f: @escaping (A, B) -> C) -> List<C> {
  switch (xs(), ys()) {
  case (.Cons(let x, let xrest), .Cons(let y, let yrest)):
    return .Cons( f(x, y), {zipList(xs: xrest, ys: yrest, f: f)})
    return .Nil

public func tail<A> (xs: @escaping () -> List<A>) -> () -> List<A> {
  switch xs() {
  case .Cons(_, let rest): return rest
  default: fatalError("List is empty")

public func fib() -> List<Int> {
  return List<Int>.Cons(1, {List<Int>.Cons(1, {zipList(xs: fib, ys: tail(xs: fib), f: +)})})


Composition is key for reusibilty. Because in Haskell, every thing is a pure function, no side effect, every output value only depends on input value. Therefore it is to compose some expressions or functions to make a bigger expression or function. So there is a saying in Haskell, a program is a large expression that solves a specific problem.

Thus, we have base function composition.

public func >>> <A, B, C> (f: @escaping (A) -> B, g: @escaping (B) -> C) -> (A) -> C {
  return { g(f($0)) }

Moreover, we have more different kinds of composition.

For example, the Kleisli composition, which related to Monad.

The following function is to compose two functions that produce optional values, from left to right

public func >-> <T, U, V>(f: @escaping (T) -> U?, g: @escaping (U) -> V?) -> (T) -> V? {
  return { x in f(x) >>- g }


In Haskell, every function is curried by default. That would faciliate function composition.

Curry in Swift would look like the following:

public func curry<A, B, C>(_ function: @escaping (A, B) -> C) -> (A) -> (B) -> C {
    return { (a: A) -> (B) -> C in { (b: B) -> C in function(a, b) } }

Initial Obejct and Terminal Object in the category of Swift types.

Initial Object is a type that for every type in Swift, there is a unique function from initial object to that type.

The initial object is Never in Swift, and its isomorphic types, like no case enum.

Terminal Object is a type that for every type in Swift, there is a unique function from that type to terminal object.

The terminal object is Void in Swift, and its isomorphic types, like (), struct wrapped ().

One usage of terminal object in this framework is to ignore value when the value is not needed.

public func terminal<A>(_ x: A) -> () {
  return ()

Maths Concept in Swift

Using a maths concept to capture a common behavioral pattern of a type, that can make that pattern more explicit and reuse the pattern more conveniently.


/// A type is a Semigroup if it has an associative, binary operation.
public protocol Semigroup {
  /// An associative operation, i.e. a.op(b.op(c)) == (a.op(b)).op(c)
  func op(_ other: Self) -> Self


/// A type is `Monoid` if it is `Semigroup` with an identity that
/// combine this identity with other value of this type would
/// result to that value.
public protocol Monoid: Semigroup {
  static func identity () -> Self


A type that is Funcotr would behave as a primitive context that wraps a value inside its context. So it has fmap function that change the value living in that context.

Array as Functor

public func <^> <T, U>(f: (T) -> U, a: [T]) -> [U] {
  return a.map(f)

Optional as Funcotr

public func <^> <T, U>(f: (T) -> U, a: T?) -> U? {
  return a.map(f)


A type that is Applicative would be a Funcotr, at the same time when a function live in that applicative context, that function can be applied with a value which live in the same context. In addition, there would be a function for an applicative type to lift any value into the applicative context.

public func <*> <T, U>(fs: [(T) -> U], a: [T]) -> [U] {
  return a.apply(fs)
public func pure<T>(_ a: T) -> [T] {
  return [a]

Optional as Applicative

public func <*> <T, U>(f: ((T) -> U)?, a: T?) -> U? {
  return a.apply(f)
public func pure<T>(_ a: T) -> T? {
  return .some(a)


A type that is Monad would be an Applicative, at the same time with a bind function to expend its contextual power, that make that following function contextual sensitive.

Array as Monad

public func >>- <T, U>(a: [T], f: (T) -> [U]) -> [U] {
  return a.flatMap(f)

Optional as Monad

public func >>- <T, U>(a: T?, f: (T) -> U?) -> U? {
  return a.flatMap(f)

Higher Kinded Type (Just for experiment)

Simulating Higher Kinded Type in Swift by using Swift Type system to abstract Functor, Applicative and Monad in terms of Protocol, so that let types of those abstraction conform to responding protocol.

The simulating mechanism is using a structure to keep the type info of context wrapped type, when needing to unwrap the value of wrapped type, using that info to get that value of a specific type instead of Any.

/// * -> *
/// tell what the type is in the HKTValueKeeper
public struct HKT_TypeParameter_Binder <HKTValueKeeper, HKTArgumentType> {
  let valueKeeper: HKTValueKeeper
public typealias HKT<F, A> = HKT_TypeParameter_Binder <F, A>

/// A protocol all type constructors must conform to.
/// * -> *
public protocol HKTConstructor {
  /// The existential type that erases `Argument`.
  /// This should only be initializable with values of types created by the current constructor.
  associatedtype HKTValueKeeper
  /// The argument that is currently applied to the type constructor in `Self`.
  associatedtype A
  var typeBinder: HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<HKTValueKeeper, A> { get }
  static func putIntoBinder(with value: Self) -> HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<HKTValueKeeper, A>
  static func extractValue(from binder: HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<HKTValueKeeper, A>) -> Self

extension HKTConstructor {
  public var typeBinder: HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<HKTValueKeeper, A> {
    return Self.putIntoBinder(with: self)

Based on the above mechanism, we can abstract the functor, applicative and monad concept in Protocol.

/// fmap :: (a -> b) -> f a -> f b
public protocol Functor: HKTConstructor {
  typealias F = HKTValueKeeper
  static func fmap<B>(f: (A) -> B, fa: HKT<F, A>) -> HKT<F, B>

/// pure :: a -> f a
/// apply :: f (a -> b) -> f a -> f b
public protocol Applicative: Functor {
  static func pure(a: A) -> HKT<F, A>
  static func apply<B>(f: HKT<F, (A) -> B>, fa: HKT<F, A>) -> HKT<F, B>

/// return :: a -> m a
/// bind :: m a -> (a -> m b) -> m b
public protocol Monad: Applicative {
  typealias M = HKTValueKeeper
  static var `return`: (A) -> HKT<M, A> {get}
  static func bind<B> (ma: HKT<M, A>, f: (A) -> HKT<M, B>) -> HKT<M, B>

extension Monad {
  public static var `return`: (A) -> HKT<M, A> {return pure}

Then we have an example of Array to conform those protocol as following:

public struct ArrayValueKeeper {
  public let value: Any
  init<T>(_ array: [T]) { self.value = array}

extension Array: HKTConstructor {
  public typealias HKTValueKeeper = ArrayValueKeeper
  public static func putIntoBinder(with value: Array<Element>) -> HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<HKTValueKeeper, Element> {
    return HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<HKTValueKeeper, Element>(valueKeeper: HKTValueKeeper(value))
  public static func extractValue(from typeBinder: HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<HKTValueKeeper, Element>) -> Array {
    return typeBinder.valueKeeper.value as! Array<Element>

extension Array: Functor {
  public static func fmap<B>(f: (Element) -> B, fa: HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<HKTValueKeeper, Element>) -> HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<HKTValueKeeper, B> {
    return extractValue(from:fa).map(f).typeBinder

extension Array: Applicative {
  public static func pure(a: Element) -> HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<HKTValueKeeper, Element> {
    return [a].typeBinder
  public static func apply<B>(f: HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<ArrayValueKeeper, (Element) -> B>, fa: HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<ArrayValueKeeper, Element>)
    -> HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<ArrayValueKeeper, B> {
      let fs = Array<(Element) -> B>.extractValue(from: f)
      let fas = Array<Element>.extractValue(from: fa)
      let fbs = fs.flatMap{ fas.map($0) }
      return fbs.typeBinder

extension Array: Monad {
  public static func bind<B>
    (ma: HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<ArrayValueKeeper, Element>, f: (Element) -> HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<ArrayValueKeeper, B>)
    -> HKT_TypeParameter_Binder<ArrayValueKeeper, B> {
      return extractValue(from: ma).map(f).flatMap{Array<B>.extractValue(from: $0)}.typeBinder


There are more inside this framework, and documentation of each API of this framework would stay in source file.

How to use

Swift Package Manager

Adding the following package dependency into your project.

.package(url: "https://github.com/KeithPiTsui/PaversFRP.git", from: "1.0.0"),


  1. Copy the ./Source/PaversFRP folder and its contents into your project, and use the source files.
  2. Or clone thise repo, then use Swift package manager to generate its xcode project file, and import that xcode project into your own project.

The origin of Some Code

Operators is heavily borrowed from Rune

The primitive idea and code is heavily borrowed from Kickstarter-Prelude