The Ascent of Functional Programming

The last few years have seen an increasing use of Functional Programming (FP) in industry. What was once mainly of academic interest is moving into mainstream IT. This is the result of both advances in hardware and compiler technologies, as well as the need to increase developer productivity in the face of ever more complex software development.

JVM languages like Scala and Clojure are finding practical usage in industry. Even languages like C# and C++11 have added FP support. The release of Java 8 in March 2014, heralded in FP for the Java developer.

So, even if you are currently happy with using Java as an object-oriented programming language, Java will eventually change underneath you, gradually becoming even more functional.

Why FP?

The current adoption of FP is not some ‘geeky’ fad. FP offers many benefits for software developers.

Higher-order abstractions

Allows the developer to focus more on the results rather than detailed computational steps. FP is programming by building abstractions rather than by sequencing low-level commands.

Improved programmer productivity

FP provides a declarative and side-effects free style of programming that helps to reduce a large class of programming errors. By working at a higher level of abstraction, developers no longer have to trade off code clarity for performance, as the properties of FP languages allow the runtime to perform optimizations.

Do more with less code

FP results in more concise code. Complex programs can be expressed with less code than with non-functional languages. FP frees you from mundane, tedious and irrelevant details, allowing you to focus on the creative aspects of your solution.

Reuse at a more granular level

Object-oriented reuse requires the building of new structures for every problem. Functional reuse occurs at a more granular and fundamental level. Instead of having to create a large number of classes with their associated methods, FP uses higher-order functions to customize behavior over a small number of generic abstractions, making for more flexible and maintainable code.

Parallel programming

This is a key reason for the rising popularity of FP, and is due to the arrival of multi-core processors. The application of parallel programming techniques to take advantage of multi-core processors is difficult, especially with state-oriented imperative programming languages. FP with its emphasis on having no side-effects and a non-sequencing functional approach, facilitates data parallelism naturally. In fact, the higher-order abstractions provided by an FP language often allow the system to parallelize automatically.

Lots more fun

Yes, programming should be fun, and FP is a lot more fun: the pleasure of applying elegant and beautiful programming techniques to solve real-world problems.

Object Training’s Functional Programming in Java 8 Course

Object Training now offers a 1-day update course for the experienced Java developer to take his or her Java skills to the next level. The course provides for a comprehensive coverage of all the FP features in Java 8. Key topics include:

  • What is Functional Programming?
  • Lambda Expressions
  • Functional Interfaces
  • Method References
  • Java 8 Collections
  • Java 8 Stream API
  • Java 8 Parallel Streams

Contact us today and update your Java skills to include this milestone change in the Java programming language.

Register your interest in the Java 8 course

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