Elixir v1.4.4 Collectable protocol

A protocol to traverse data structures.

The Enum.into/2 function uses this protocol to insert an enumerable into a collection:

iex> Enum.into([a: 1, b: 2], %{})
%{a: 1, b: 2}

Why Collectable?

The Enumerable protocol is useful to take values out of a collection. In order to support a wide range of values, the functions provided by the Enumerable protocol do not keep shape. For example, passing a map to Enum.map/2 always returns a list.

This design is intentional. Enumerable was designed to support infinite collections, resources and other structures with fixed shape. For example, it doesn’t make sense to insert values into a range, as it has a fixed shape where just the range limits are stored.

The Collectable module was designed to fill the gap left by the Enumerable protocol. into/1 can be seen as the opposite of Enumerable.reduce/3. If Enumerable is about taking values out, Collectable.into/1 is about collecting those values into a structure.

Summary

Functions

Returns a function that collects values alongside the initial accumulation value

Types

command()
command() :: {:cont, term} | :done | :halt
t()
t() :: term

Functions

into(collectable)
into(t) :: {term, (term, command -> t | term)}

Returns a function that collects values alongside the initial accumulation value.

The returned function receives a collectable and injects a given value into it for every {:cont, term} instruction.

:done is passed when no further values will be injected, useful for closing resources and normalizing values. A collectable must be returned on :done.

If injection is suddenly interrupted, :halt is passed and it can return any value, as it won’t be used.