Book Image

Learning D

By : Michael Parker
Book Image

Learning D

By: Michael Parker

Overview of this book

D is a modern programming language that is both powerful and efficient. It combines multiple paradigms in a way that opens up a whole new world of software design. It is used to develop both desktop and web applications, with future targets including mobile, and is available on multiple platforms. It is familiar to anyone with some experience in one or more of the C-family languages. However, hidden in the similarities are several differences that can be surprising when trying to apply common idioms from other languages. When learning D on your own, this can make it more time-consuming to master. In order to make the most of the language and become an idiomatic D programmer, it’s necessary to learn how to think in D. This book familiarizes you with D from the ground up, with a heavy focus on helping you to avoid surprises so that you can take your D knowledge to the next level more quickly and painlessly. Your journey begins with a taste of the language and the basics of compiling D programs with DMD, the reference D compiler developed by Digital Mars, and DUB, a community-developed build utility and package manager. You then set out on an exploration of major language features. This begins with the fundamentals of D, including built-in types, conditionals, loops and all of the basic building-blocks of a D program, followed by an examination of D’s object-oriented programming support. You’ll learn how these features differ from languages you may already be familiar with. Next up are D’s compile-time features, such as Compile-Time Function Evaluation and conditional compilation, then generic programming with templates. After that, you’ll learn the more advanced features of ranges and functional pipeline programming. To enhance your D experience, you are next taken on a tour of the D ecosystem and learn how to make D interact with C. Finally, you get a look at D web development using the vibe.d project and the book closes with some handy advice on where to go next.
Table of Contents (19 chapters)
Learning D
About the Author
About the Reviewers

Functional programming and composable pipelines

A major goal of functional programming is functional purity. This means that functions should be implemented such that they have no side effects. A pure function does not modify any global state or mutate any data structures in place. Take the example of appending an item to a list. In C, it might look like this:

list_append(list, item);

This will add item to list in place. When list_append returns, the state of list has been mutated. This is a side effect, making it an impure function. In a functional language, it would look more like this:

list2 = list_append(list1, item);

In this form, list1 is immutable; new items cannot be added or inserted. Instead, this function returns a new list, list2, containing all of the elements of list1 followed by the new addition, item. Immutability coupled with purity can make it easier to reason about a program's behavior. It also leads naturally to functions which are self-contained, tightly-sealed units, with...