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Elixir already has product-type, tuples, which allow to aggregate several values in to one. But it lacks a sum-type, which allows to create a structure with a fixed set of values and guards all of them are handled. DiscUnion solves this.
With it, you can create a structure with a finite set of values, and have compile-time warnings if you try to use a wrong value or miss handling one case:
defmodule Shape do use DiscUnion defunion Point | Circle in float() | Rectangle in any * any end
defmofule Solver do use Shape def calc_area(shape) do Shape.calc shape do Point in _ -> 0.0 Circle in r -> :math.pi * r * r Rectangle in w, h -> w*h end end end
If there would be a typo in
Rectangle in solver.ex or this line would be
missed completely, app would not compile and
MissingUnionCaseError would be raised.
For more complete example see tennis kata example (which also creates a structure that does not allow creating invalid state of the game - thanks to using ADTs).