📘 Reduction meta-operator [ ] in Perl 6

📘 Reduction meta-operator [ ] in Raku

N. B. Perl 6 has been renamed to Raku. Click to read more.

For any infix operator op the reduction form [op] also exists. The reduction operator takes a list, enrols its values, and inserts the operator between them.

Examine the example with the [*] reduction operator:

[*] 1..5

The form above is equivalent to the following line:

1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5

Reduction operators also will be automatically created for the user-defined operators. For example, create the operator that accumulates the sum of every pair of operands that it ever received. Notice the state variable, which works as it does in regular subs, keeping the value between the sub calls.

sub infix:<pairsum>($a, $b) {
    state $sum = 0;
    $sum += $a + $b;

say [pairsum] 1, 2, 3; # 9
say [pairsum] 1, 2, 3; # 27

To understand the result, let’s add the debugging output to the operator body:

sub infix:<pairsum>($a, $b) {
    state $sum = 0;
    say "[$a + $b]";
    $sum += $a + $b;

Also note that the function returns the last calculated value; that’s why there is no need for an explicit return $sum statement.

So, the call of [pairsum] 1, 2, 3 prints the following lines:

[1 + 2]
[3 + 3]

It is important to realise that the second call receives the values 3 and 3, not 2 and 3 from the original sub call. This is because in the second call, the left operand will contain the previously calculated value, which is also 3 at that moment.

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