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Functional Programming: Competitive Advantages

Programming languages differ from each other in many ways. These include:


  • approach to operations (functional, imperative);

  • focus on process or results;

  • compatible coding languages;

  • functions and algorithms they are based on;

  • the level of complexity in mastering, using, and testing;

  • the speed of working with them;

  • the presence of side effects;

  • the mutability of objects in the process and after receiving the results;

  • transparency;

  • interaction with other attributes;

  • the scale of systems they are used for, etc.


The two main groups of programming languages and processes are imperative and functional. Below, let’s take a look at the advantages of the latter. 


Functional programming concept


Functional programming (FP) is a coding method based on pure functions. FP uses a declarative approach for operations. FP is result-oriented, not process-oriented, like most other languages and coding methods. Advanced FP programmers from this team can consult you on any project issues.


The functional programming concept gained momentum in the early 2000s. Today, it is used within coding languages such as Haskell, Rust, Agda, and Elixir, Nix, and several others. While the issues with types in JS are a pain in the head, , with strongly typed TS everything is simpler. For further explanation of how TypeScript work within FP, like Haskell, check this post. 


FP code is laconic. The results of functional programming are pretty easy to test when compared to imperative code. Modular designs provide a fast testing process and high overall performance. FP also uses nested functions and constructions.


Among the main disadvantages (or rather inconveniences) of FP is that it’s not so easy to master for beginners. It’s also difficult to keep track of rapid updates and novelties, which adding to the FP languages new features. In addition to the requirements of setting up the environment, there is the complexity of reusability (you may need refactoring here). And finally, while errors are minimal, in particular, if you’re using strongly typed variables, they’re not out of the question. And fixing it can also be a difficult process, especially for beginners.

Key concepts defining FP 

Ø Pure functions are those without side effects that produce the same result given identical inputs. Immutability defines the immutability of objects once they are created. 

Ø The closure is an entry that stores a function and its attributes. 

Ø First-class function – a function that acts as a variable or argument. 

Ø Maintainability – changes are limited only to the function, so there are no changes outside of it.

Ø Modularity – the breakdown into modules – is one of the factors that makes coding and testing easier.

Ø Referential transparency means that each operation is performed as if for the first time, which helps to avoid side effects and reveal new actions during the encoding process.

Ø With higher-order functions, all data types can work with objects, strings, numbers, or any other data type, since it takes a function as an argument that handles the given data type appropriately. 

Ø The combination of two or more functions to create a new, instead of flow control, as is the case with imperative programming languages, is called function composition. 

Final thoughts


Functional programming is not a panacea for developers, but it has several competitive advantages over imperative programming. Given the properties listed above, the following parameters that play in favor of FP are distinguished:


  • work in real-time instead of speed with the risk of errors;

  • local changes instead of global ones for higher accuracy;

  • a declarative approach that describes the capabilities of the system instead of describing actions to expand the potential.


Explore functional programming in action to see if it fits your needs as a developer and solves your software problems.