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Better notation to re-use `&`?

See original GitHub issue

Currently, if you want a quick function that uses the input twice, e.g. ($) => $+$, you can write &+$. I find this syntactically inappropriate, as $ doesn’t appear until you use it the second time; I don’t find it at all intuitive that & binds $. And it’s especially bad if you use $ yourself or nest & functions inside of each other.

I would rather find a notation that is similar in the first and second uses, or that doesn’t use an existing identifier. Obviously &+& has a meaning though, namely, ($) => $ + ($$) => $$. And it could get more ambiguous with e.g. &(&).

Some possible proposals (which I think I mentioned previously in Discord):

  1. A second & refers to the same variable as the first, so &+& would mean ($) => $+$. This would forbid nesting a & function shorthand inside another one, but we can use alternatives to just &. For example, if you want the current meaning of &+&, you could use something like &+&& or &+&2 or &1+&2.
  2. Almost the opposite: && or &1 could mean “re-use the last & variable”, similar to how $ behaves now. We could extend to &&& or &2 referring to two levels up, etc.
  3. Similar to 2, we could use a special notation for the current & argument, like ^, or ^^ for two levels up etc. Or &^, &^^, etc.

It occurs to me that && is probably syntactically ambiguous with the and operator, so the above suggestions are only really serious with the &n notation for an integer n, or something else like &^.

FWIW, Ruby, Crystal, and Elm don’t seem to have anything for this. So another option (other than leaving things as is) would be:

  1. Forbid accessing the argument a second time. &+$ would become ($$) => $$ + $. If you want ($) => $+$, write that.

Also possibly related to pipe operator and

Issue Analytics

  • State:open
  • Created 9 months ago
  • Comments:5 (5 by maintainers)

github_iconTop GitHub Comments

STRd6commented, Dec 26, 2022

I think forbidding access to the function variable is probably correct. It just sort of happens to work by chance of implementation currently.

I think in cases where you need to reference the parameter using an explicit arrow function is the simplest and most direct way to do it.

edemainecommented, Dec 27, 2022

Huh, I was wondering about wrapping & expressions (or some other notation) in braces to indicate where the function wrapper goes (especially for placeholders). But yeah, not much more concise than an arrow function. I guess the nice thing is not having to spend time naming the arguments and not having to repeat them more than once… So I think it still might be interesting to think about.

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