struct+  +
1 Introduction
2 Design Goal
3 Synopsis
3.1 Constructors:   recruit vs recruit+  +
4 Syntax
5 Setters and Updaters
6 Rules
7 Converters
7.1 convert-for
7.2 convert-from
8 Reflection
9 Warnings, Notes, and TODOs
9.1 Field options and why they aren’t available
10 Thanks
7.3

struct++

David K. Storrs

 (require struct-plus-plus) package: struct-plus-plus

1 Introduction

struct-plus-plus provides extended syntax for creating structs. It does not support supertypes or field options (#:auto and #:mutable). Aside from that, it’s a drop-in replacement for the normal struct form. So long as your struct does not have a supertype or a field marked #:auto or #:mutable, you can literally just change struct to struct++ and your code will continue to work as before but you will now have a keyword constructor, functional setters for all fields, and reflection data.

struct-plus-plus offers the following benefits over normal struct:

2 Design Goal

The intent is to move structs from being dumb data repositories into being data models in the sense of MVC programming. They should contain data that is internally consistent and valid according to business rules. This centralizes the checks that would otherwise need to be done at the point of use.

3 Synopsis

Let’s make a struct that describes a person who wants to join the military.

> (require json struct-plus-plus)
> (define (get-min-age) 18.0)
> (struct++ recruit
            ([name (or/c symbol? non-empty-string?) ~a]
             [age positive?]
             [(eyes 'brown) (or/c 'brown 'black 'green 'blue 'hazel)]
             [(height-m #f) (between/c 0 3)]
             [(weight-kg #f) positive?]
             [(bmi #f) positive?]
             [(felonies 0) natural-number/c])
  
            (#:rule ("bmi can be found" #:at-least    2         (height-m weight-kg bmi))
             #:rule ("ensure height-m"  #:transform   height-m  (height-m weight-kg bmi) [(or height-m (sqrt (/ weight-kg bmi)))])
             #:rule ("ensure weight-kg" #:transform   weight-kg (height-m weight-kg bmi) [(or weight-kg (* (expt height-m 2) bmi))])
             #:rule ("ensure bmi"       #:transform   bmi       (height-m weight-kg bmi) [(or bmi (/ 100 (expt height-m 2)))])
             #:rule ("lie about age"    #:transform   age       (age) [(define min-age (get-min-age))
                                                                       (cond [(>= age 18) age]
                                                                             [else min-age])])
             #:rule ("eligible-for-military?" #:check (age felonies bmi) [(and (>= age 18)
                                                                               (= 0 felonies)
                                                                               (<= 25 bmi))])
             #:convert-for (db (#:remove '(eyes bmi)
                                #:rename (hash 'height-m 'height 'weight-kg 'weight)))
             #:convert-for (alist (#:remove '(bmi eyes)
                                   #:rename (hash 'height-m 'height 'weight-kg 'weight)
                                   #:post hash->list))
             #:convert-for (json (#:action-order '(rename remove add overwrite)
                                  #:post  write-json
                                  #:rename (hash 'height-m 'height 'weight-kg 'weight)
                                  #:remove '(felonies)
                                  #:add (hash 'vision "20/20")
                                  #:overwrite (hash 'hair "brown"
                                                    'eyes symbol->string
                                                    'shirt (thunk "t-shirt")
                                                    'age (lambda (age) (* 365 age))
                                                    'vision (lambda (h key val)
                                                              (if (> (hash-ref h 'age) 30)
                                                                  "20/15"
                                                                  val))))))
  
            #:transparent)
> (recruit++ #:name 'tom)

application: required keyword argument not supplied

  procedure: recruit++

  required keyword: #:age

  arguments...:

   #:name 'tom

> (define bob
    (recruit++ #:name 'bob
               #:age 16
               #:height-m 2
               #:weight-kg 100))
> bob

(recruit "bob" 18.0 'brown 2 100 25 0)

> (set-recruit-age bob 20)

(recruit "bob" 20 'brown 2 100 25 0)

> (recruit/convert->db bob)

'#hash((age . 18.0) (felonies . 0) (name . "bob") (weight . 100) (height . 2))

> (recruit/convert->alist bob)

'((age . 18.0) (felonies . 0) (name . "bob") (weight . 100) (height . 2))

> (recruit/convert->json bob)

{"eyes":"brown","age":6570.0,"name":"bob","bmi":25,"vision":"20/20","shirt":"t-shirt","hair":"brown","weight":100,"height":2}

3.1 Constructors: recruit vs recruit++

There are two constructors for the recruit datatype: recruit and recruit++. struct++ will generate both of these while Racket’s builtin struct generates only recruit. Only recruit++ has keywords, contracts, etc. Using the default constructor will allow you to create structures that are invalid under the field contracts. See below:

Examples:
> (recruit 'tom -3 'red 99 10000 0.2 -27)
  ; VIOLATES FIELD CONTRACTS!

(recruit 'tom -3 'red 99 10000 0.2 -27)

> (recruit++ #:name 'tom #:age -3 #:eyes 'red #:height-m 99 #:weight-kg 10000 #:bmi 0.2 #:felonies -27)

recruit++: contract violation

  expected: positive?

  given: -3

  in: the #:age argument of

      (->*

       (#:age

        positive?

        #:name

        (or/c symbol? non-empty-string?))

       (#:bmi

        positive?

        #:eyes

        (or/c 'brown 'black 'green 'blue 'hazel)

        #:felonies

        natural-number/c

        #:height-m

        (between/c 0 3)

        #:weight-kg

        positive?)

       recruit?)

  contract from: (function recruit++)

  blaming: program

   (assuming the contract is correct)

4 Syntax

(struct++ type:id (field ...) spp-options struct-option ...)

 

field :   field-id

        | (field-id                   field-contract          )

        | (field-id                   field-contract   wrapper)

        | ([field-id  default-value]                          )

        | ([field-id  default-value]  field-contract          )

        | ([field-id  default-value]  field-contract   wrapper)

 

field-contract : contract? = any/c

 

spp-options :

              | (spp-option ...+)

 

spp-option :   #:make-setters? boolean? = #t

             | #:omit-reflection

             | rule

             | convert-for

             | convert-from

 

rule :  #:rule (rule-name #:at-least N maybe-pred (field-id ...+))

      | #:rule (rule-name #:check (field-id ...+) [code])

      | #:rule (rule-name #:transform field-id (field-id ...+) (code ...+))

 

rule-name :  string?

 

N  : exact-positive-integer?

 

maybe-pred :

             | (-> any/c boolean?) = (negate false?)

 

code      : <expression>

 

convert-for :    #:convert-for (convert-name (hash-option ...))

 

convert-from :   #:convert-from (convert-name (source-predicate match-clause (field-id ...)))

 

convert-name : id

 

source-predicate : predicate/c

 

match-clause : <expression>

 

hash-option :  #:include      (list key ...+)

             | #:remove       (list key ...+)

             | #:overwrite    (hash [key value-generator] ...)

             | #:add          (hash [key value-generator] ...)

             | #:rename       (hash [key value-generator] ...)

             | #:default      (hash [key value-generator] ...)

             | #:post         (-> hash? any) = identity

             | #:action-order (list (or/c 'include 'remove 'overwrite

                                     'add 'rename 'default) ...+)

                                     = '(include remove overwrite add rename default)

 

key             : any/c

 

value-generator :   (not/c procedure?)            ; use as-is

                  | <procedure of arity != 0,1,3> ; use as-is

                  | (-> any/c)                    ; call w/no args

                  | (-> any/c any/c)              ; w/current value

                  | (-> hash/c any/c any/c any/c) ; w/hash,key,current value

 

struct-option : As per the 'struct' builtin. (#:transparent, #:guard, etc)

Note that supertypes are not supported as of this writing, nor are field-specific keywords (#:mutable and #:auto).

5 Setters and Updaters

When #:make-setters? is missing or has the value #t, struct++ will generate a functional setter and updater for each field. When #:make-setters? is defined and has the value #f the setters and updaters will not be generated.

Given a struct of type recruit with a field age, the name of the setter will be set-recruit-age and the updater will be update-recruit-age. Setters receive a value, updaters receive a one-argument function that receives the current value and returns the new value.

The setters and updaters are not exported. You will need to put them in the provide line manually.

(struct++ person (name))

; set-person-name and update-person-name ARE defined

 

(struct++ person (name) (#:make-setters? #t))

; set-person-name and update-person-name ARE defined

 

(struct++ person (name) (#:make-setters? #f))

; set-person-name and update-person-name are NOT defined

 

> (set-person-name (person 'bob) 'tom)

(person 'tom)

 

> (update-person-name (person 'bob) (lambda (current) (~a current "'s son")))

(person "bob's son")

 

6 Rules

Structs always have business logic associated with them – that’s the entire point. Much of that can be embodied as contracts or wrapper functions, but if you want to enforce requirements between fields then you need rules. No one wants to code all that stuff manually, so let’s have some delicious syntactic sugar that lets us create them declaratively.

Let’s go back to our example of the recruit. In order to be accepted into the military, you must be at least 18 years of age, have no felonies on your record, and be reasonably fit (BMI no more than 25).

Bob really wants to join the military, and he’s willing to lie about his age to do that.

> (define (get-min-age) 18.0)
> (struct++ lying-recruit
            ([name (or/c symbol? non-empty-string?) ~a]
             [age positive?]
             [(height-m #f) (between/c 0 3)]
             [(weight-kg #f) positive?]
             [(bmi #f) positive?]
             [(felonies 0) natural-number/c])
            (#:rule ("bmi can be found" #:at-least    2         (height-m weight-kg bmi))
             #:rule ("ensure height-m"  #:transform   height-m  (height-m weight-kg bmi) [(or height-m (sqrt (/ weight-kg bmi)))])
             #:rule ("ensure weight-kg" #:transform   weight-kg (height-m weight-kg bmi) [(or weight-kg (* (expt height-m 2) bmi))])
             #:rule ("ensure bmi"       #:transform   bmi       (height-m weight-kg bmi) [(or bmi (/ 100 (expt height-m 2)))])
             #:rule ("lie about age"    #:transform   age       (age) [(define min-age (get-min-age))
                                                                       (cond [(>= age 18) age]
                                                                             [else min-age])])
             #:rule ("eligible-for-military?" #:check           (age felonies bmi) [(and (>= age 18)
                                                                                         (= 0 felonies)
                                                                                         (<= 25 bmi))]))
            #:transparent)

Note: In the "ensure height-m" rule it is not necessary to check that you have both weight-kg and bmi because the "bmi can be found" rule has already established that. The same applies to the "ensure weight-kg" and "ensure bmi" rules.

> (define bob
    (lying-recruit++ #:name 'bob
                     #:age 16
                     #:height-m 2
                     #:weight-kg 100))
> bob

(lying-recruit "bob" 18.0 2 100 25 0)

Note that Bob’s name has been changed from a symbol to a string as per Army regulation 162.11a, his age has magically changed from 16 to 18.0, and his BMI has been calculated. Suppose we try to invalidate these constraints?

> (set-lying-recruit-felonies bob 3)

failed in struct++ rule named 'eligible-for-military?'

(type: check): check failed

  age: 18.0

  felonies: 3

  bmi: 25

Nope! You cannot invalidate the structure by way of the functional setters/updaters, although you could do it if you marked your struct as #:mutable and then used the standard Racket mutators. (e.g. set-recruit-felonies!)

7 Converters

7.1 convert-for

When marshalling a struct for writing to a database, a file, etc, it is useful to turn it into a different data structure, usually but not always a hash. Converters will change the struct into a hash, then pass the hash to the hash-remap function in handy, allowing you to return anything you want. See the handy/hash docs for details, but a quick summary:

Note that #:overwrite provides special behavior for values that are procedures with arity 0, 1, or 3. The values used are the result of calling the procedure with no args (arity 0); the current value (arity 1); or hash, key, current value (arity 3).

convert-for functions are named <struct-name>/convert-><purpose>, where ’purpose’ is the name given to the conversion specification. For example:

> (struct++ person
            (name age)
            (#:convert-for (db (#:remove '(age)))
             #:convert-for (json (#:add (hash 'created-at (current-seconds))
                                  #:post write-json)))
            #:transparent)
> (person/convert->db (person 'bob 18))

'#hash((name . bob))

> (person/convert->json (person "bob" 18))

{"age":18,"name":"bob","created-at":1560351317}

7.2 convert-from

convert-from functions go the opposite direction from convert-for – they accept an arbitrary value and they turn it into a struct.

convert-from functions are named <source>-><struct-name>++, where ’source’ is the name given to the conversion specification. For example:

> (require struct-plus-plus)
> (struct++ key ([data bytes?]) #:transparent)
> (struct++ person
            ([id exact-positive-integer?]
             [name non-empty-string?]
             [(keys '()) list?])
  
            (#:convert-from (vector (vector?
                                     (vector id
                                             (app (compose (curry map key) vector->list) keys)
                                             name)
                                     (id keys name))))
  
            #:transparent)
> (vector->person++ (vector 9 (vector #"foo" #"bar") "fred"))

(person 9 "fred" (list (key #"foo") (key #"bar")))

Behind the scenes, the #:convert-from specification above is equivalent to the following:

> (require struct-plus-plus)
> (struct++ key ([data bytes?]) #:transparent)
> (struct++ person
            ([id exact-positive-integer?]
             [name non-empty-string?]
             [(keys '()) list?])
             #:transparent)
> (define/contract (vector->person++ val)
    (-> vector? person?)
    (match val
      [(vector id
               (app (compose (curry map key) vector->list) keys)
               name)
       (person++ #:id id #:keys keys #:name name)]))
> (vector->person++ (vector 9 (vector #"foo" #"bar") "fred"))

(person 9 "fred" (list (key #"foo") (key #"bar")))

8 Reflection

By default, all struct++ types support reflection by way of a structure property, ’prop:struct++’, which contains a promise (via delay) which contains a struct++-info struct containing relevant metadata.

Use the #:omit-reflection keyword to disable this behavior. You will need to do so if you are including the #:prefab struct option.

Relevant struct definitions:

> (struct++ person ([name (or/c symbol? string?) ~a]
                    [(age 18) number?]
                    [eyes])
            (#:rule ("name ok" #:check (name) [(> (string-length name) 3)])
             #:rule ("is >= teen" #:check (age) [(>= age 13)])
             #:convert-for (db (#:add (hash 'STRUCT-TYPE 'person))))
            #:transparent)
> (define bob (person 'bob 18 'brown))
> (struct++-ref bob)

#<promise!#<struct++-info>>

> (force (struct++-ref bob))

#<struct++-info>

Declarations for the various types used in reflection:

(struct struct++-rule (name type))
;  contracts: string? (or/c 'transform 'check 'at-least)
;  e.g.: "name ok" 'check
 
(struct struct++-field (name accessor contract wrapper default))
;  e.g.: 'name (or/c symbol? string?) ~a 'no-default-given
;  e.g.: 'age number? identity 18
 
(struct struct++-info
  (base-constructor constructor predicate fields rules converters))
;  base-constructor will be the ctor defined by @racket[struct], e.g. 'person'
;  constructor will be the ctor defined by @racket[struct++], e.g. 'person++'
;  predicate will be, e.g., 'person?'
;  converters will be a list of the procedures defined by the #:convert-for items
> (match (force (struct++-ref bob))
    [(struct* struct++-info
              ([base-constructor base-constructor]
               [constructor constructor]
               [predicate predicate]
               [fields (and fields
                            (list (struct* struct++-field
                                           ([name     field-names]
                                            [accessor field-accessors]
                                            [contract field-contracts]
                                            [wrapper  field-wrappers]
                                            [default  field-defaults]))
                                  ...))]
               [rules (and rules
                           (list (struct* struct++-rule
                                          ([name rule-names]
                                           [type rule-types]))
                                 ...))]
               [converters converters]))
  
     (pretty-print
      (hash 'field-names     field-names
            'field-accessors field-accessors
            'field-contracts field-contracts
            'field-wrappers  field-wrappers
            'field-defaults  field-defaults
            'rule-names      rule-names
            'rule-types      rule-types
            'converters      converters
            'fields          fields
            'rules           rules))])

'#hash((converters . (#<procedure:person/convert->db>))

       (field-accessors

        .

        (#<procedure:person-name>

         #<procedure:person-age>

         #<procedure:person-eyes>))

       (field-contracts

        .

        (#<flat-contract: (or/c symbol? string?)>

         #<procedure:number?>

         #<flat-contract: any/c>))

       (field-defaults . (no-default-given 18 no-default-given))

       (field-names . (name age eyes))

       (field-wrappers

        .

        (#<procedure:~a> #<procedure:identity> #<procedure:identity>))

       (fields . (#<struct++-field> #<struct++-field> #<struct++-field>))

       (rule-names . ("name ok" "is >= teen"))

       (rule-types . (check check))

       (rules . (#<struct++-rule> #<struct++-rule>)))

9 Warnings, Notes, and TODOs

Some of these were already mentioned above:

9.1 Field options and why they aren’t available

Field options (#:auto and #:mutable) are not supported and there are no plans to support them in the future.

Regarding #:auto: The per-field default syntax that struct++ provides is strictly superior to #:auto, so there is no need to provide it. Furthermore, auto fields come with the restriction that they cannot have values provided at construction time – it’s not a default, it’s a "here’s this field that is automagically generated and you can’t do anything but read it". This would substantially complicate generating the keyword constructor, since the macro would need to locate all fields that were auto and then exclude them from the constructor. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be sensible for an auto field to have a default value, contract, wrapper, or functional setter, so there would need to be an entirely separate field syntax and then many additional checks. The costs of supporting #:auto far outweigh the marginal value.

Regarding #:mutable: Supporting this one would be straightforward, so not supporting it is a deliberate choice. The functional setters that struct++ provides should satisfy nearly all the same use cases as the #:mutable field option, and it’s still possible to use the struct-level #:mutable option if you really want to mutate. Mutation should be avoided in general, so leaving out the #:mutable field option seems like a good decision.

10 Thanks

The words ’shoulders of giants’ apply here. I would like to offer great thanks to:

And, as always, to the dev team who produced and maintain Racket. You guys rule and we wouldn’t be here without you.