Imperative programming style was practiced in web development from 2005 all the way to 2013.
With imperative programming, we wrote out code that listed exactly what our application should do, step by step.
The functional programming style produces abstraction through clever ways of combining functions.
There is mention of declarative programming in the answers and regarding that I will say that declarative programming lists out some rules that we are to follow. We then provide what we refer to as some initial state to our application and we let those rules kind of define how the application behaves.
Now, these quick descriptions probably don’t make a lot of sense, so lets walk through the differences between imperative and declarative programming by walking through an analogy.
Imagine that we are not building software, but instead we bake pies for a living. Perhaps we are bad bakers and don’t know how to bake a delicious pie the way we should.
So our boss gives us a list of directions, what we know as a recipe.
The recipe will tell us how to make a pie. One recipe is written in an imperative style like so:
- Mix 1 cup of flour
- Add 1 egg
- Add 1 cup of sugar
- Pour the mixture into a pan
- Put the pan in the oven for 30 minutes and 350 degrees F.
The declarative recipe would do the following:
1 cup of flour, 1 egg, 1 cup of sugar - initial State
- If everything mixed, place in pan.
- If everything unmixed, place in bowl.
- If everything in pan, place in oven.
So imperative approaches are characterized by step by step approaches. You start with step one and go to step 2 and so on.
You eventually end up with some end product. So making this pie, we take these ingredients mix them, put it in a pan and in the oven and you got your end product.
In a declarative world, its different.In the declarative recipe we would separate our recipe into two separate parts, start with one part that lists the initial state of the recipe, like the variables. So our variables here are the quantities of our ingredients and their type.
We take the initial state or initial ingredients and apply some rules to them.
So we take the initial state and pass them through these rules over and over again until we get a ready to eat rhubarb strawberry pie or whatever.
So in a declarative approach, we have to know how to properly structure these rules.
So the rules we might want to examine our ingredients or state, if mixed, put them in a pan.
With our initial state, that doesn’t match because we haven’t yet mixed our ingredients.
So rule 2 says, if they not mixed then mix them in a bowl. Okay yeah this rule applies.
Now we have a bowl of mixed ingredients as our state.
Now we apply that new state to our rules again.
So rule 1 says if ingredients are mixed place them in a pan, okay yeah now rule 1 does apply, lets do it.
Now we have this new state where the ingredients are mixed and in a pan. Rule 1 is no longer relevant, rule 2 does not apply.
Rule 3 says if the ingredients are in a pan, place them in the oven, great that rule is what applies to this new state, lets do it.
And we end up with a delicious hot apple pie or whatever.
Now, if you are like me, you may be thinking, why are we not still doing imperative programming. This makes sense.
Well, for simple flows yes, but most web applications have more complex flows that cannot be properly captured by imperative programming design.
In a declarative approach, we may have some initial ingredients or initial state like , a single variable.
Maybe text input starts off as an empty string.
We take this initial state and apply it to a set of rules defined in your application.
If a user enters text, update text input. Well, right now that doesn’t apply.
If template is rendered, calculate the widget.
- If textInput is updated, re render the template.
Well, none of this applies so the program will just wait around for an event to happen.
So at some point a user updates the text input and then we might apply rule number 1.
We may update that to
So we just updated our text and textInput updates, rule number 2 does not apply, rule number 3 says if text input is update, which just occurred, then re render the template and then we go back to rule 2 thats says if template is rendered, calculate the widget, okay lets calculate the widget.
In general, as programmers, we want to strive for more declarative programming designs.
Imperative seems more clear and obvious, but a declarative approach scales very nicely for larger applications.
answered Oct 29 '18 at 22:03
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