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This is a documentation about internal Pathex API and it is subject to change
You do not need to read this unless you are interested in Pathex internals, want to hack Pathex or want to create your own Pathex compatible lens

This page describes what a Pathex.t() is and how to create and use one. Most of the time you might want to use Pathex.path/2 and Pathex.Lenses to create paths. If you find their functionality limited and unapplicable for your use case, you can create you own Pathex-compatible closure. This doc describes how to do this.



Path-closure is specified in Pathex.t(), and it's a closure of two arguments:

  • Operation name. It is an atom, one of :view, :update, :force_update, :delete, :inpsect
  • Operation arguments. It is a tuple which size depends on an operation

Currently every path-closure has 5 operations:

path_closure =
    # Operation which gets value from structure and return `function.(value)`
    :view,         {structure, hook_function} -> ...

    # Operation which returns new structure with updated value
    :update,       {structure, hook_function} -> ...

    # Operation which returns new structure with updated value, or default set
    :force_update, {structure, hook_function, default} -> ...

    # Operation which returns new structure with deleted value.
    :delete,       {structure, delete_function} -> ...

    # Inspects the path. Returns Elixir's AST. This is used only for error-logging and debugging
    :inspect,      _ -> ...

Here structure is the structure which is viewed or updated by this path and hook_function or delete_function is a hook function described in the next section. If the value in the structure defined by the path is not present, path-closure must return :error. If it's present, path-closure must return whatever is returned by hook_function(value)


Hook function

You can see that for every operation except inspect accepts some function as a second argument. This function is called a hook function and it must be called on the value from the structure defined by the path (if the value is present). Hook function is required to


Return types

Here function returns {:ok, result} | :error
And delete_function returns {:ok, result} | :error | :delete_me

  • {:ok, result} returns updated value for update/force_update/delete operations and value to be returned for view
  • :error in case function call has not succeeded
  • :delete_me is returned by function only for :delete operation clause. It means that the value upon which the hook function was called must be deleted. For all other clauses, this must be treated as an invalid hook function and error must be raised



Special requirements are described here

  • Path-closure must not raise or throw if it's called with correct operation and argument tuple

  • Path-closure must be idempotent. This means that path-closure must return the same result for the same inputs every time it's called.

  • Path-closure should not produce any side-effects. Thought it actually can produce side-effects, you shouldn't count on them.