Comparing Imperative and Functional Algorithms in Java 8
Added: (Wed Jan 31 2018)
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Both algorithms do the same thing, theyre probably equally fast and reasonable. Yet, one of the algorithms is much easier to write and read than the other. The difference lies in the fact that in imperative programming, different algorithmic requirements are spread throughout the code block, when in functional programming, each requirement has its own little line of code. Compare:
Green: Error handling
Blue: Stop criteria
Red: IO operations
Yellow: Business logic
Definition: An imperative language uses a sequence of statements to determine how to reach a certain goal. These statements are said to change the state of the program as each one is executed in turn.
Examples: Java is an imperative language. For example, a program can be created to add a series of numbers:
int total = 0;
int number1 = 5;
int number2 = 10;
int number3 = 15;
total = number1 + number2 + number3;
Each statement changes the state of the program, from assigning values to each variable to the final addition of those values. Using a sequence of five statements the program is explicitly told how to add the numbers 5, 10 and 15 together.
Functional languages: The functional programming paradigm was explicitly created to support a pure functional approach to problem solving. Functional programming is a form of declarative programming.
Advantages of Pure Functions: The primary reason to implement functional transformations as pure functions is that pure functions are composable: that is, self-contained and stateless. These characteristics bring a number of benefits, including the following: Increased readability and maintainability. This is because each function is designed to accomplish a specific task given its arguments. The function does not rely on any external state.
Easier reiterative development. Because the code is easier to refactor, changes to design are often easier to implement. For example, suppose you write a complicated transformation, and then realize that some code is repeated several times in the transformation. If you refactor through a pure method, you can call your pure method at will without worrying about side effects.
Easier testing and debugging. Because pure functions can more easily be tested in isolation, you can write test code that calls the pure function with typical values, valid edge cases, and invalid edge cases.
For OOP People or Imperative languages:
Object-oriented languages are good when you have a fixed set of operations on things and as your code evolves, you primarily add new things. This can be accomplished by adding new classes which implement existing methods and the existing classes are left alone.
Functional languages are good when you have a fixed set of things and as your code evolves, you primarily add new operations on existing things. This can be accomplished by adding new functions which compute with existing data types and the existing functions are left alone.
It depends on the user requirements to choose the way of programming, so there is harm only when users dont choose the proper way.
down vote Here is the difference:
Turn on your shoes size 9 1/2.
Make room in your pocket to keep an array of keys.
Put the keys in the room for the keys in the pocket.
... and so on and on ...
Put the milk in the refrigerator.
Declarative, whereof functional is a subcategory:
Milk is a healthy drink, unless you have problems digesting lactose.
Usually, one stores milk in a refrigerator.
A refrigerator is a box that keeps the things in it cool.
A store is a place where items are sold.
By "selling" we mean the exchange of things for money.
Also, the exchange of money for things is called "buying".
... and so on and on ...
Make sure we have milk in the refrigerator (when we need it - for lazy functional languages).
Summary: In imperative languages you tell the computer how to change bits, bytes and words in it's memory and in what order. In functional ones, we tell the computer what things, actions etc. are. For example, we say that the factorial of 0 is 1, and the factorial of every other natural number is the product of that number and the factorial of its predecessor. We don't say: To compute the factorial of n, reserve a memory region and store 1 there, then multiply the number in that memory region with the numbers 2 to n and store the result at the same place, and at the end, the memory region will contain the factorial.