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Why Functional Programming Is Important

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Functional programming is an important programming language in today’s evolving technological app development landscape. It is different from imperative and object-based programming methods. However, functional programming can be a better solution for solving different problems when new apps and codes need to be created.

If you are just starting to learn to program, it can be very confusing as to which programming language is best to use. Some online articles you encounter freely interchange object-oriented and imperative programming, so it is easy to assume these are the same thing.

The confusion arises if object-oriented languages are designed to support both object-oriented programming and imperative programming. Some even now support functional programming, too, so, while they may be called object-oriented apps, they can support a wide range of programming methods.

In addition, while programming languages can share similar ideals, there are slight variances between them. Understanding how these are different really comes down to the type of programming method being used, as this will affect how data is processed and the types of output you desire.

What Is Functional Programming?

Functional programming relies on developing code where you have a fixed set of items. As the code evolves, your only requirement is to want to add new operations to the existing code. In other words, you could add new functions to the existing code, but you do not have to alter the structures of the existing code or their functions.

The functions within the program utilize declarations or expressions rather than actual statements. The easiest way to think about this is to use your mathematics courses where you learned about functions. If you remember, you had a particular function (f) and some variable (x) that could change.

You evaluate the function based on the input (i.e., x variable) and compute the result using the function, such as f(x) equals some output value. As such, it is possible to nest functions within functions to manipulate data, such as in data compilers or when using a “tree-form” data structure.

What Is Imperative Programming?


Imperative programming, on the other hand, requires the use of different statements to change the state of the program. Each statement can alter the data as it is evaluated by the program. Each statement is processed in order and follows a specific sequence until reaching the end of the statements, and the result is output.

What Is Object-Oriented Programming?

With object-oriented programming, there are objects that must be defined by a series of statements, resulting in fields, which may or may not contain data values. This type of programming is useful when comparing data fields or when you want specific objects to interact with each other. In addition, object-oriented programming can incorporate imperative programming methods.

Why Should You Use Functional Programming?

typing-functional-programmingTo illustrate why you should use functional programming, let’s look at an analogy about a factory assembly line to show how functional programming is different from imperative programming.

In a functional programming factory, the assembly line would always build the same thing, but on different assembly lines. In this case, the parts and components needed to build the item would remain constant, but the way they were assembled could vary based on which assembly line they went down.

In the imperative programming factory, the items would be assembled on the same assembly line, but what you build would change. In other words, the parts and components required to build finished goods would be different, depending on what you want to build that particular day.

The benefit of the functional programming factory is if you needed to build more items on multiple assembly lines. It would be easier to “program” variances between each assembly line using a functional program.

The benefit of the imperative programming factory is if you constantly changed parts and components but always used the same assembly line. It would be easier to “program” new parts and components into the system using this programming language.

Which Programming Method Is Best for Your Business?

learning-functional-programmingThe key thing to remember is there are programming courses which distinguish between developing either functional programming skills or imperative/object-oriented skills, yet which incorporate certain features of one or other. So, it is not a matter of how a program was initially developed and for what language or programming method.

Rather, imperative and functional programming techniques can be applied to the development of code for many different types of programs. For instance, Java, C++, PHP, and Perl were developed based on using imperative programming. However, as functional programming has evolved, these programs have the flexibility to also be used to develop programs using functional concepts.

Furthermore, Scala, which was developed primarily as a functional programming application, incorporates several different aspects and features you would typically expect to find in an object-oriented/imperative programming app. These features can make it easier to learn computer programing for those people who already have a solid background in imperative or object-oriented programming.

In the end, it is about developing your skills to determine which programming method would be the best solution for development and coding projects. How you build your code and organize the style of the program will greatly influence the end result.

If your skills are not as good as what they should be or your structure too sloppy, then the end result will also be of a lower quality. Therefore, it will not really matter what programming method you used if you lack the proper training and skills.

That being said, the amount of data today is constantly and continuously growing. As a result, organizations of all sizes are in need of functional programming solutions capable of compiling the data into different useful formats and outputs. As such, it will be important for new programmers to learn to program using functional programming, as well as to have solid skills in imperative programming and object-oriented programming.

What Benefits Does Functional Programming Provide?

pramming-using-functional-programmingFunctional programming offers several benefits over traditional paradigm-style programming. With paradigm programming, the data must be processed in a specific format before another set of data can be processed or a problem solved. This can result in much longer data processing times compared to using functional programming.

Functional programming uses a parallelism-style of data processing. This type of computing is where multiple calculations and pieces of data can be processed simultaneously. Larger processes are able to be broken down into smaller ones, as well, with each process being worked on all at the same time.

Data streaming also requires functional programming for it work effectively. Data streaming is much like the digital streaming services you use to watch your favorite movies and TV programs. As the data is called up by the program, it is streamed to it so it can be processed.

With more and more companies storing data in the Cloud, data streaming is becoming a standard practice. Paradigm-style programming cannot efficiently process streamed data as well as functional programming. In addition, both parallelism and data streaming are essential components of big data processing.

Furthermore, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) rely upon functional programming methods. These methods allow machines to process data and provide solutions to problems quickly, while also being able to adapt and learn at the same time.

As you can see, functional programming is more beneficial when working to solve modern problems, process big data, and help make advances in machine learning and AI.

How Can YoppWorks Help You?

developer-and-student-at-yopp-worksOpen-source toolkits are becoming quite common in the field of programming. These toolkits often incorporate functional programming languages like Scala. To be truly innovative and creative, you will need proper training by completing computer program courses teaching you how to effectively use and apply functional programming to develop new programs to solve different problems and challenges.

YoppWorks offers classroom-based training courses to help you learn how to use functional programming apps and toolkits. Our training classes are designed for programmers who already have a background in Java, C+, C#, or Ruby.

In cases where you are not familiar with programming languages, yet have a need to develop new solutions, YoppWorks offers professional consulting and software development services. Options range from providing mentorship and consultancy to project delivery and project augmentation.

  • Mentorship and consultancy services are well-suited for businesses of all sizes that are not sure how to tackle a problem or do not know which type of programming solution would be best for their business.
  • Project delivery services are recommended for businesses that do not have their own in-house programmers. In this case, you can think of YoppWorks as your own professional and private programmers that serve as an extension of your business.
  • Project augmentation services are ideal for businesses that already have existing programmers, but which require additional help to deliver the project on time or lack expertise in functional programming.

We enjoy helping our clients learn how to develop responsible, resilient, and message-driven applications to meet the demands of their business requirements and needs, whether we are teaching them different in-classroom or online programming courses or providing consulting and software development services.

To learn more about functional programming and how this language can be an appropriate solution to resolve a wide array of modern business and data challenges, please feel free to contact YoppWorks at 1-888-322-6002 today!


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_programming
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperative_programming
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object-oriented_programming