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Cheatsheet: Option (in Rust) vs Maybe (in Haskell)
Correspondence of common combinators
This is meant to be for people coming from Haskell to Rust or vice versa who want to quickly find the name of corresponding function on optional values. For example, I keep forgetting the names of Rust combinators. Which one I have to use in a particular situation? Is it or_else, unwrap_or orunwrap_or_else? I can imagine that other people may experience similar problems, hence the cheatsheet. You can find examples and more detailed description in the official documentation by clicking on function names.
Update 1: as /u/jkachmar points out on Reddit that there is a note function in some of alternative Preludes in Haskell (or in errors package), which is an analog of ok_or in Rust. Added to the cheatsheet.
Update 2: /u/masklinn says that Haskell listToMaybe is akin to calling next on an Iterator and maybeToList is an Option implementing IntoIterator. I agree with that, since lists in Haskell, being lazy, more or less correspond to Rust iterators. Also, you can iterate over Option in Rust by calling iter.
Update 3: fixed several typos and errors spotted by Reddit readers. Thank you /u/jroller, /u/jlombera, /u/gabedamien, /u/george____t
Update 4: use flatten from Iterator to implement catMaybe, thanks to /u/MysteryManEusine.

Cheatsheet

Haskell
Rust
Purpose
Type (Haskell style)
Maybe
Option
type name
Just
Some
constructor for value
a -> Maybe a
Nothing
None
constructor for no value
Maybe a
isJust
is_some
check if has value
Maybe a -> Bool
isNothing
is_none
check if has no value
Maybe a -> Bool
fmap from Functor
map
apply function to value inside
(a -> b) -> Maybe a -> Maybe b
fromJust
unwrap
extract a value, fail if there is none
Maybe a -> a
fromMaybe
unwrap_or
extract a value or return a given default
a -> Maybe a -> a
(>>=) from Monad
and_then
propagate "no value", apply a function to a value, function can return no value too
Maybe a -> (a -> Maybe b) -> Maybe b
(<|>) from Alternative
or
return first value if present or second if not
Maybe a -> Maybe a -> Maybe a
(>>) from Monad
and
return first value if none or second if not
Maybe a -> Maybe b -> Maybe b
maybe
map_or
takes function and default. Apply function to the value or return default if there is no value
b -> (a -> b) -> Maybe a -> b
note, maybeToRight (both non-
standard)
ok_or
transforms optional value to possible error
b -> Maybe a -> Either b a
mapMaybe
filter_map from Iterator
applies filter and map simultaneously
(a -> Maybe b) -> [a] -> [b]
catMaybe
flatten from Iterator
extracts only values from the list, drops no values
[Maybe a] -> [a]
join from Monad
flatten
squashes two layers of optionality into one
Maybe (Maybe a) -> Maybe a
sequence from Traversable
transpose
transposes Option and Result layers (or Either and Maybe in Haskell terms)
Maybe (Either e a) -> Either e (Maybe a)

Notes

In Rust, all combinators with or at the end have a variant with or_else at the end: unwrap_or_else or or_else etc. Those variants take a closure for the default value and are lazily evaluated. They are recommended when you have a function call returning default value. In Haskell there is no need for this, since it is a lazy language by default.
In Rust there are many different ways for extracting the optional value:
  • unwrap which just fails if there is no value
  • unwrap_or which provides a default for that
  • unwrap_or_else where this default is calculated by a closure
  • unwrap_default where default is taken from Default trait implemented on the type
  • unwrap_none which fails if the value is not None and returns nothing
  • expect which is the same as unwrap, but takes a custom error message
  • expect_none which is the same as unwrap_none but takes a custom error message
Another very useful method in Rust is as_ref which converts from &Option<T> to Option<&T> which is very handy for pattern matching. as_mut plays a similar role for mutable references.
In Rust there are several methods related to ownership of the value in the Option, like take and replace, they have no analogs in Haskell that does not have the ownership concept.
In Rust we sometimes want to copy or clone values, it's possible to do so on optional references (Option<&T>) to get Option<T> from those by cloning or copying the referenced value. There are copied and cloned methods for this.
It's possible to mutate optional values in Rust. For that we have get_or_insert and get_or_insert_with methods which allow to insert a new (possibly computed) value into None or just use the value which was there.
transpose method in Rust is interesting, since it reminds me of sequence from Traversable in Haskell. It basically transpose two layers: Result (or Either in Haskell) and Option. sequence in Haskell does approximately the same, but in a more generic fashion.
In addition to and and or Rust has a method xor, perhaps just for the completeness. You've probably guessed that it returns Some if and only if there is only one Some in its arguments.
Haskell has two functions listToMaybe and maybeToList that convert between trivial lists (with 0 or 1 elements) and Maybe values. Rust doesn't have those, since lists are not that ubiquitous, but see the Update 2 above.

Summary

Rust has more functions to work with Option than Haskell because it has to support references, mutability and ownership. On the other hand Haskell outsources some of the combinators to its generic typeclasses: Semigroup, Alternative, Monoidetc. so its combinator library seems thinner.
Last modified 1yr ago
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