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Blade like most high-level programming languages allows the creation of reuseable blocks of code of various kinds, most notable being functions. A blade function is declared using the def (meaning define) keyword followed by the function name and an options list of arguments/parameters enclosed within parenthesis () and followed by a block of code.

For example:

%> def fn() {
..   echo 'Hello, World'
.. }

Over this course of this tutorial, we’ve actually been calling a few functions such as the built-in print() function. Calling a function is as simple as stating the function name followed by an opening parenthesis (, followed by one or more arguments if applicable and a closing parenthesis ).

For example:

%> fn()   # calling the fn function declared above
'Hello, World'

Below is another example with a function accepting arguments and how it can be called.

%> def print_info(name, age) {
..   echo '${name} is ${age} years old'
.. }
%> print_info('Varun', 39)
'Varun is 39 years old'

A function can only accept a maximum of 255 named parameters and cannot declare more than 65,535 local variables. If you need anything more than that, it’s time you start looking at breaking up your function into smaller functions.

The default value of a blade function parameter is nil. With this in mind, when calling a function, one can all or the rest of the arguments to the function without raising an exception.

For example:

%> def show(book, author) {
..   echo 'Book name = ${book}'
..   echo 'Author name = ${author}'
.. }
%> show()   # calling show() without any parameter make book and author nil
'Book name = '
'Author name = '
%> show('Jaws')  # calling show() with only book name makes author nil
'Book name = Jaws'
'Author name = '
%> show('Jaws', 'Andrea')   # calling with both parameters
'Book name = Jaws'
'Author name = Andrea'

In Blade, functions are first-class objects and can be use like any other value. Functions can be assigned, they can even be used as arguments to other functions.

For example:

%> def example() {
..   echo 'It works!'
.. }
%> var fn = example
%> fn()
'It works!'

Returning Values

The return keyword can be called anywhere in a function to halt the function and return the specified value back to the calling function or script. However, Blade does not require that a value must be returned from a function.

For example:

%> def return_a_number() {
..   return 25 * 31
.. }
%> return_a_number()
%> def return_nothing() {}  # `return` is never necessary
%> return_nothing()

Anonymous Fuctions

Anonymnous functions in Blade are functions without a name and are meant purely to be treated as a value. They can be assigned, called and/or returned as value from functions just like a regular function. All anonymous functions are automatically assigned the name @ by the BladeVM.

Anonymous functions differ from standard functions only by syntax.

  • Anonymous function are not defined by any keyword such as def.
  • Their parameter list are preceeded by the @ sign.

For example:

%> @() {} # empty anonymous function
<function @(0) at 0x127305120>
%> @(name) {     # anonymous function accepting parameter name
..   echo name  # function body
.. }

The anonymous function syntax was changed from using vertical bars (|) to using the @ prefix in Blade v0.0.85. The compiler will continue to support the old version till we reach version v0.1.0 for backward compartibility, but it will no longer be documented.

Anonymous functions as discussed can be called,

%> @(name, age) {
..   echo '${name} is ${age} years old'
.. }('Pete', 46)
'Pete is 46 years old'

or assigned to variable,

%> var get_info = @(name, age) {
..   echo '${name} is ${age} years old'
.. }
%> get_info('Casandra', 11)
'Casandra is 11 years old'

and passed as argument to functions.

%> def call(fn) {
..   fn('Lionel')
.. }
%> call(@(name) {
..   echo 'Hi ${name}'
.. })
'Hi Lionel'


A closure gives you access to an outer function’s scope from an inner function. In Blade, all functions are closures. In Blade, closures are scoped to the current function and top level functions are scoped to the current module.

For example:

%> def init() {
..   var name = 'Blade'     # local name variable in function init
..   def show_name() {      # inner function, a closure
..     echo name            # use of variable declared in parent
..   }
..   show_name()
.. }
%> init()

While Blade is lexically scoped, inner functions in Blade have access to variables declared in their parent functions. Let’s see another example that shows clearly how the variables declared in the parent survives until the inner function even after the outer function is out of scope.

%> def make_fn() {
..   var name = 'Blade'
..   def show_name() {
..     echo name
..   }
..   return show_name
.. }
%> var fn = make_fn()
%> fn()

Once make_fn() finishes executing, you might expect that the name variable would no longer be accessible. However, in Blade they still work. This is because the name variable lives long enough into the inner function.

Here is a slightly more interesting example borrowed from Mozilla’s JavaScript documentation as JavaScript is another language that supports closures.

%> def make_adder(x) {
..   return @(y) {
..     return x + y
..   }
.. }
%> var add5 = make_adder(5)
%> var add10 = make_adder(10)
%> echo add5(2)
%> echo add10(2)

And another slightly more complex one.

%> var e = 10   # global scope
%> def sum(a) {
..   return @(b) {
..     return @(c) {     # outer functions scope
..       return @(d) {
..         return a + b + c + d + e     # local scope
..       }
..     }
..   }
.. }
%> echo sum(1)(2)(3)(4)

Variadic functions

In many situations, it becomes quite convienent to write a function that accepts an arbitary number of arguments. This kind of functions are variadic functions i.e. functions accepting variable arguments. To accept variable arguments in a Blade function, simple indicate it by using the tridot (...) operator.

A few notes apply to variadic functions.

  • The ... operator cannot appear before any named parameter
  • No named parameter can appear after the ... operator.

When a function accepts variable arguments, every argument passed to the function starting from the index of the tridot operator (...) will become available in the function as a local variable named __args__.

For example:

%> def concat(...) {
..   return ' '.join(__args__)  # __args__ is a list
.. }
%> concat('Hello', 'World')
'Hello World'

The tridot operator isn’t necessarily the first parameter in the function, but must be the last parameter in the function.

%> def test2(name, age, ...) {
..   echo name
..   echo age
..   echo __args__
.. }
%> test2('Richard', 20, 'James')

Trying to add another parameter after the tridot operator (...) will result in a syntax error.

For example:

%> def test(name, ..., age) {
..   echo name
.. }
SyntaxError at ',': expected ')' after function parameters

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Copyright © 2021 Ore Richard Muyiwa. Distributed under the MIT license.