Wednesday 30 June 2021

CFML higher-order functions compared to tag-based code: sort function


OK so you've probably got the gist of things with these articles, with my previous treatments of comparing "modern" to "old school" with map, reduce, filter operations. On to sorting now.

I think this is going to involve some awful code.

I don't think I need to explain why we might need to sort a collection, or what "sorting" is. It's really easy using higher-order functions. The need to write the sorting algorithm has been removed, and only a function to compare to elements needs to be provided:

months = [
    {id=1, miSequence=8, mi="Kohi-tātea", anglicised="Hānuere", en="January"}, 
    {id=2, miSequence=9, mi="Hui-tanguru", anglicised="Pēpuere", en="February"}, 
    {id=3, miSequence=10, mi="Poutū-te-rangi", anglicised="Maehe", en="March"}, 
    {id=4, miSequence=11, mi="Paenga-whāwhā", anglicised="Āperira", en="April"}, 
    {id=5, miSequence=12, mi="Haratua", anglicised="Mei", en="May"}, 
    {id=6, miSequence=1, mi="Pipiri", anglicised="Hune", en="June"}, 
    {id=7, miSequence=2, mi="Hōngongoi", anglicised="Hūrae", en="July"}, 
    {id=8, miSequence=3, mi="Here-turi-kōkā", anglicised="Akuhata", en="August"}, 
    {id=9, miSequence=4, mi="Mahuru", anglicised="Hepetema", en="September"}, 
    {id=10, miSequence=5, mi="Whiringa-ā-nuku", anglicised="Oketopa", en="October"}, 
    {id=11, miSequence=6, mi="Whiringa-ā-rangi", anglicised="Noema", en="November"}, 
    {id=12, miSequence=7, mi="Hakihea", anglicised="Tihema", en="December"}
monthsInMaoriOrder = duplicate(months).sort((e1, e2) => e1.miSequence - e2.miSequence)


Here I have a list of the months of the year, ordered according to the Gregorian calendar. The Maori calendar has the same ordering, but the year starts around when the Gregorian calendar considers June. So the exercise here is to re-order the array to respect that ordering. The code for the sorting is just the comparator function.

One thing to note here is that despite appearances given we're assigning the return value of the sorting operation to a new variable, the original array is modified when you call sort on it. I think this is less than ideal, but it's the way it works on both ColdFusion and Lucee. If you want you're original array left alone, then duplicate it first like I have here.

If we're going old school procedural: it's a bit of a nightmare. We need to write our own sorting implementation. Well: we grab one from anyhow. But even then, the original leverages a callback function, so I've modified this to be truly procedural and have that embedded in the implementation.

<cffunction name="monthsSortedByMaoriSequence" returntype="array" output="false">
    <cfargument name="arrayToCompare" type="array" required="true">

    <cfset var lesserArray = arrayNew(1)>
    <cfset var greaterArray = arrayNew(1)>
    <cfset var pivotArray = arrayNew(1)>
    <cfset var examine = 2>
    <cfset var comparison = 0>
    <cfset pivotArray[1] = arrayToCompare[1]>

    <cfif  arrayLen(arrayToCompare) LT 2>
        <cfreturn arrayToCompare>

    <cfset arrayDeleteAt(arrayToCompare, 1)>
    <cfloop array="#arrayToCompare#" item="element">
        <cfset comparison = element.miSequence - pivotArray[1].miSequence>

        <cfswitch expression="#sgn(comparison)#">
            <cfcase value="-1">
                <cfset arrayAppend(lesserArray, element)>
            <cfcase value="0">
                <cfset arrayAppend(pivotArray, element)>
            <cfcase value="1">
                <cfset arrayAppend(greaterArray, element)>

    <cfif arrayLen(lesserArray)>
        <cfset lesserArray = monthsSortedByMaoriSequence(lesserArray)>
        <cfset lesserArray = arrayNew(1)>

    <cfif arrayLen(greaterArray)>
        <cfset greaterArray = monthsSortedByMaoriSequence(greaterArray)>
        <cfset greaterArray = arrayNew(1)>

    <cfset arrayAppend(lesserArray, pivotArray, true)>
    <cfset arrayAppend(lesserArray, greaterArray, true)>

    <cfreturn lesserArray>
<cfset sorted = monthsSortedByMaoriSequence(months)>

It's hard to see the bit that the modern implementation needs, but it's buried here.

Note: to an clever clogs who spot the odd shortcoming in that implementation of quicksort: you're missing the point of the article, and also yer talking to the wrong person because I didn't write it. But - yes yes - you're very clever.

The point is: that's awful. Writing old-school tag-based procedural code one needs to re-implement (and re-test!) the sorting function every time you need one. This is an extreme example and only a lunatic would not use the callback approach even with tag based code:

<cffunction name="comparator">
    <cfargument name="e1">
    <cfargument name="e2">
    <cfreturn e1.miSequence - e2.miSequence>

<cfset sorted = duplicate(months)>
<cfset arraySort(sorted, comparator)>

But still: it's just better to get with the programme (or the decade) and use the modern version for this.