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What is a functor?

Paul Hudson       @twostraws

A functor is any data type that can be mapped over using map(), as long it abides by two laws:

  1. If your map function is the identity function (i.e. it just returns each element without transformation) then your input and output must be the same.
  2. If you compose function A and function B to make function C then use the result with map(), the result should be the same as mapping first A then B individually.

Both of those laws sound obvious, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Arrays are functors, sets are functors, optionals are functors, and more.

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