elixir streams

Elixir streams are essentially lazy-loaded Enums. You can do a lot of neat things with them.

Calling map an an Enum will execute that call in place, whereas a stream is composable. For example, you can chain a couple of maps, and selects together without actually executing anything until you want to. Here's an example:

a = 1..5

IO.puts "Eager enumeration:"

a
|> Enum.map(fn x -> IO.puts("x") end)
|> Enum.map(fn x -> IO.puts("o") end)

IO.puts ""
IO.puts "Now lazy enumeration:"

a
|> Stream.map(fn x -> IO.puts("x") end)
|> Stream.map(fn x -> IO.puts("o") end)
|> Enum.to_list

Running this in iex will produce:

Eager enumeration: x x x o o o Now lazy enumeration: x o x o x o

Enum prints all the x's first and then the o's, whereas the Stream will print x and then o for every iteration

You can also do neat things with Stream.unfold/2 like wrap generating random numbers with an enumerable interface:

random = Stream.unfold(nil, fn _ -> {:random.uniform(100), nil} end)

# Get 10 random numbers
values = Enum.take(random, 10)

# Get only even numbers
even_random = 
  Stream.filter(random, fn e -> rem(e, 2) == 0 end)
  |> Enum.take(10)

# Make a long random number
long_random = Enum.take(random, 10) |> Enum.join

We use Enum with a stream as an argument for when we actually want to return the values, and Stream when we want to keep composing the stream. Be careful not to call Enum.to_list/0 on this random stream as it will probably crash and never return.

守: Follow the rules.

破: Break the rules.

離: Make your own rules.