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简要介绍JAVA8中的函数式编程;Brief Introduction to Functional Programming in Java 8

Brief Introduction to Functional Programming in Java 8

Klaus7828 Feb 2016 CPOL
In this tip, we explain the basics of functional programming in Java 8.

Introduction

Recently, I had the chance to do some work with Java 8. Since until then, I had experience with Java until version 7,  I had to learn some new concepts. In this tip, I would like to describe what I have learned in Java 8 and share it with you.

In Java 8, some elements of functional programming were added to the language. The main purpose for that is  to better support multicore programming.

Multicore programming is a very current topic. Nowadays, the increase of power computation is mainly achieved by increasing the number of CPUs on a single board. The increase of CPU clock frequency was common in the past and continued until the early 2000s, when it stopped because of technological limitations.

Functional programming is a programming paradigm that is particularly suited for multicore programming. Functional programming is based on evaluating functions. Examples of functions are x==2 or x+3, where x is an input parameter. When x is 2 then x+3 evaluates 5.

It is very important to point out that these functions do not modify the input parameters nor variables. In other words, these functions do not change the variables of a program. As a result, these functions can be easily parallelized since there is no risk that function1 and function2 will modify variable1 at the same time. This is a core concept of functional programming.

Java 8 is an object oriented language with support for functional programming. Functional programming in Java 8 involves working with objects, methods but also with functions.

The functions used in Java 8 are special kind of functions called lambda expressions.

Lambda Expressions

A Lambda expression is essentially a function without name and is represented as follows:

(params) -> function body

A Lambda expression consists of three parts:

  1. List of parameters (left of arrow)
  2. Arrow
  3. Function body

Some examples of Lambda expressions are:

(1)      (2)     (3)
x         ->    x + 2

(1)       (2)        (3)
(y,z)     ->     y * z * 2

Lambda expressions can be used in general when you want to pass a piece of code as parameter.

Although the main purpose of functional programming in Java 8 is to simplify the multicore programming, any type of program can benefit from using lambda expressions.

In Java 8, there are two main uses for lambda expressions:

  1. Use lambda expressions instead of anonymous classes
  2. Write operations on collections that can be easily parallelized

Use of Lambda Expressions Instead of Anonymous Classes

You can replace any anonymous class with a lambda expression when the anonymous class has just one method. Anonymous classes are also an attempt to pass a piece of code as parameter.

For example, you can pass a piece of code to be executed to a button when it is clicked in two ways, with anonymous classes and with lambda expressions:

// button click with anonymous classes
button.addActionListener(
      new ActionListener() {
          public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent event) {
          System.out.println("button clicked");
      }
});

// button click with lambda expression
button.addActionListener(event -> System.out.println("button clicked"));

The code with Lambda expression is much more compact.

Use Lambda Expressions to Write Operations on Collections That Can Be Easily Parallelized

Lambda expression can be used on collections by the Stream API.

The Stream API is a new interface introduced in Java 8 that makes it possible to write functional code on collections with lambda expressions. You can think of the Stream as a disguised iterator that allows you to examine all the elements of the collection.

Let's see an example: given a collection of Integers, you want to find the number of values larger than 5.

Without Lambda expressions and Stream API, you would write a piece of code such as:

// code before Java 8
int counter = 0;
for (int val : myIntList) {
    if(val > 5)
        counter++;
}

The code with lambda expressions looks like:

// functional approach with stream and Lambda expressions
int counter = myIntList.stream().filter(n -> n>5).count();

With the stream API, you can call the filter method and pass that lambda expression. You can read the code as follows "give me all values from the collection that satisfy the condition n>5 and count them".

The code with lambda expression has a functional flavor because you pass the Lambda expression n-> n>5 as parameter to the filter function.

Notice that with the lambda expressions, you focus more on what result you want (all values > 5) and not how you get it (this is a matter of the compiler).

When a stream function returns another stream, you can create chains of stream oerations. In the examplestream() and filter() return a stream, so they can be followed by another operation. By contrast, count()returns an int so it cannot be followed by another stream operation.

If you want to parallelize the code on the collection, you can just replace stream with parallelStream.

<code>
int counter1 = myIntList.parallelStream().filter(n -> n>5).count();
</code>

When to use stream or parallelStream is not a trivial task and beyond the purposes of this tip. Among other things, this will depend on the size of the collection, the number of the available CPUs. In the end, you will need to make comparative tests.


http://www.codeproject.com/Tips/1069832/Brief-Introduction-to-Functional-Programming-in-Ja

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