2.3.1 Walkthrough: Libraries

In Hoon, like in other languages, it's often useful to create a library for other code to access. In this example, we look at one example of a library that can be used to represent a deck of 52 playing cards. The core below builds such a library, and can be accessed by programs.

|%
+$  suit  ?(%hearts %spades %clubs %diamonds)
+$  darc  [sut=suit val=@ud]
+$  deck  (list darc)
++  make-deck
  ^-  deck
  =|  mydeck=deck
  =/  i  1
  |-
  ?:  (gth i 4)
    mydeck
  =/  j  1
  |-
  ?.  (lte j 13)
    ^$(i +(i))
  %=  $
    j       +(j)
    mydeck  [(num-to-suit i) j]^mydeck
  ==
++  num-to-suit
  |=  val=@ud
  ^-  suit
  ?+  val  !!
    %1  %hearts
    %2  %spades
    %3  %clubs
    %4  %diamonds
  ==
++  shuffle-deck
  |=  [unshuffled=deck entropy=@]
  ^-  deck
  =|  shuffled=deck
  =/  random  ~(. og entropy)
  =/  remaining  (lent unshuffled)
  |-
  ?:  =(remaining 1)
    :_  shuffled
    (snag 0 unshuffled)
  =^  index  random  (rads:random remaining)
  %=  $
    shuffled      (snag index unshuffled)^shuffled
    remaining     (dec remaining)
    unshuffled    (oust [index 1] unshuffled)
  ==
++  draw
  |=  [n=@ud d=deck]
  ^-  [hand=deck rest=deck]
  :-  (scag n d)
  (slag n d)
--

On the very first line, we create a core with |%. This core contains all of our library code, and is closed by the -- on the final line.

To create three types we're going to need, we use +$, which is an arm used to define a type.

+$  suit  ?(%hearts %spades %clubs %diamonds)
+$  darc  [sut=suit val=@ud]
+$  deck  (list darc)

The first is suit, which can be either %hearts, %spades, %clubs, or %diamonds.

Next is a darc, which which is a pair of suit and a @ud. By pairing a suit and a number, it forms a particular card, such as "nine of hearts." Why do we call it darc and not card? Because card already has a meaning in gall, the Arvo app module, where one would likely to use this (or any) library. It's worthwhile to avoid any confusion over names.

Our final type is deck, which is simply a list of darc.

One way to get a feel for how a library works is to skim the ++ arm-names before diving into any specific arm. In this library, the arms are make-deck, num-to-suit, shuffle-deck, and draw. These names should be very clear, with the exception of num-to-suit though you could probably hazard a guess at what it does. Let's take a closer look at that one first.

++  num-to-suit
  |=  val=@ud
  ^-  suit
  ?+  val  !!
    %1  %hearts
    %2  %spades
    %3  %clubs
    %4  %diamonds
  ==

We can see this is a gate that takes a single @ud and produces a suit.

The ?+ rune is the rune to switch against a value with a default. The default here is to crash with !!. Then we have the four options of 1 through 4, based on the value of val, which each resulting in a different suit.

++  make-deck
  ^-  deck
  =|  mydeck=deck
  =/  i  1
  |-
  ?:  (gth i 4)
    mydeck
  =/  j  1
  |-
  ?.  (lte j 13)
    ^$(i +(i))
  %=  $
    j       +(j)
    mydeck  [(num-to-suit i) j]^mydeck
  ==

num-to-suit is used in the make-deck arm shown above. This arm should be quite readable to you at this point. Here we simply have two loops where we use counters to build up the full set of 52 cards, by cycling through every possible suit and number and combining them. Once we have reached the point where j is greater than 13, we're going to jump back out to the "suit" outer-loop and increment i. ?. may be an unfamiliar rune; it is simply the inverted version of ?:, so the first branch is actually the "no" branch and the second is the "yes" branch. This is done to keep the "heaviest" branch at the bottom.

++  draw
  |=  [n=@ud d=deck]
  ^-  [hand=deck rest=deck]
  :-  (scag n d)
  (slag n d)

draw takes two arguments: n, a number; and d, a deck. It's going to produce a cell of two decks. The cell is created using scag and slag. scag is a standard-library gate produces the first n elements from a list, and slag is a standard-library gate that produces the remaining elements of a list starting after the nth element. So we use scag to produce the drawn hand of n cards in the head of the cell as hand, and slag to produce the remaining deck in the tail of the cell as rest.

++  shuffle-deck
  |=  [unshuffled=deck entropy=@]
  ^-  deck
  =|  shuffled=deck
  =/  random  ~(. og entropy)
  =/  remaining  (lent unshuffled)
  |-
  ?:  =(remaining 1)
    :_  shuffled
    (snag 0 unshuffled)
  =^  index  random  (rads:random remaining)
  %=  $
    shuffled      (snag index unshuffled)^shuffled
    remaining     (dec remaining)
    unshuffled    (oust [index 1] unshuffled)
  ==

Finally, in the code above, we come to shuffle-deck. This gate takes two arguments: a deck, and a @ as a bit of entropy to seed the og core. It's going to produce a deck.

=| adds a default-valued deck to the subject.

Next, with =/ random ~(. og entropy), we feed the og core the entropy it needs in preparation for using it. Then, with =/ remaining (lent unshuffled), we get the length of the unshuffled deck with lent.

?: =(remaining 1) checks if have only one card remaining. If that's true, we produce a cell of shuffled and the one card left in unshuffled. We use the :_ rune here, so that the "heavier" hoon is at the bottom of the expression.

If the above conditional evaluates to false, we are going to do a little work. =^ is a rune that pins the head of a pair and changes the leg with a tail. It's useful for interacting with the og core arms, as many of them produce a pair of a random numbers and the next state of the core. We're going to put the random number in the subject with the face index and change random to be the next core.

With completed, we use %^ to call $ to recurse back up to |- with a few changes.

shuffled gets the darc from unshuffled at index added to the front of it.

remaining gets decremented. Why are we using a counter here instead of just checking the length of unshuffled on each loop? lent traverses the entire list every time it's called so maintaining a counter in this fashion is much faster.

unshuffled becomes the result of using oust to remove 1 darc at index on unshuffled.

This is a very naive shuffling algorithm, and you could imagine a better one. Implementation of a better algorithm is left as an exercise for the reader.

Using the Library

So now that we have this library, how do we actually use it? Let's look at a very simple say generator that takes advantage of what we built.

/+  playing-cards
:-  %say
|=  [[* eny=@uv *] *]
:-  %noun
(shuffle-deck:playing-cards make-deck:playing-cards eny)

If you save our the library as playing-cards.hoon in the lib directory, you can import the library with the /+ rune. Our above say -- let's call it cards.hoon -- imports our library in this way. It should be noted that /+ is not a Hoon rune, but instead a rune used by Ford, the Urbit build-system. When cards.hoon gets built, Ford will pull in the requested library and also build that. It will also create a dependency so that if playing-cards.hoon changes, this file will also get rebuilt.

Below /+ playing-cards, you have the standard say generator boilerplate that allows us to get a bit of entropy from arvo when the generator is run. Then we feed the entropy and a deck created by make-deck into shuffle-deck to get back a shuffled deck.

Next Up: Reading -- Trees, Sets, and Maps