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Creating your own error wrappers

Raise is a powerful tool that allows us to create our own DSLs to raise typed errors. It easily allows integration with existing libraries and frameworks that offer similar data types like Either or even your own custom types. For example, let's take a popular ADT often used in the front end, a type that models Loading, Content, or Failure, often abbreviated as LCE.

sealed interface Lce<out E, out A> {
object Loading : Lce<Nothing, Nothing>
data class Content<A>(val value: A) : Lce<Nothing, A>
data class Failure<E>(val error: E) : Lce<E, Nothing>

Basic functionality

Let's say that once a Failure or Loading case is encountered, we want to short-circuit and not continue with the computation. It's easy to define a Raise instance for Lce that does just that. We'll use the composition pattern to do this without context receivers. Since we need to raise both Lce.Loading and Lce.Failure, our Raise instance will need to be able to raise Lce<E, Nothing>, and we wrap that in a LceRaise class. Within that class, a bind function can be defined to short-circuit any encountered Failure or Loading case or otherwise return the Content value.

value class LceRaise<E>(val raise: Raise<Lce<E, Nothing>>) : Raise<Lce<E, Nothing>> by raise {
fun <A> Lce<E, A>.bind(): A = when (this) {
is Lce.Content -> value
is Lce.Failure -> raise.raise(this)
Lce.Loading -> raise.raise(Lce.Loading)

All that is required now is a DSL function. We can use the recover or fold function to summon an instance of RaiseLce<E, Nothing> from the Raise type class. We wrap the block in an Lce.Content value and return any encountered Lce<E, Nothing> value. We can call block by wrapping Raise<Lce<E, Nothing>> in LceRaise.

inline fun <E, A> lce(@BuilderInference block: LceRaise<E>.() -> A): Lce<E, A> =
recover({ Lce.Content(block(LceRaise(this))) }) { e: Lce<E, Nothing> -> e }

We can now use this DSL to compose our computations and Lce values in the same way as we've discussed above in this document. Furthermore, since this DSL is built on top of Raise, we can use all the functions we've discussed above.

fun example() {
lce {
val a = Lce.Content(1).bind()
val b = Lce.Content(1).bind()
a + b
} shouldBe Lce.Content(2)

lce {
val a = Lce.Content(1).bind()
ensure(a > 1) { Lce.Failure("a is not greater than 1") }
a + 1
} shouldBe Lce.Failure("a is not greater than 1")

If we'd used context receivers, defining this DSL would be even more straightforward, and we could use the Raise type class directly.

context(Raise<Lce<E, Nothing>>)
fun <E, A> Lce<E, A>.bind(): A = when (this) {
is Lce.Content -> value
is Lce.Failure -> raise(this)
Lce.Loading -> raise(Lce.Loading)

inline fun <E, A> lce(@BuilderInference block: Raise<Lce<E, Nothing>>.() -> A): Lce<E, A> =
recover({ Lce.Content(block(this)) }) { e: Lce<E, Nothing> -> e }

Reflections on Failure

The reason to choose Lce<E, Nothing> as type for Failure allows for a DSL that has multiple errors. Let's consider now a type similar to Lce, but with additional states which are not considered success.

DialogResult<out T>
├ Positive<out T>(value: T) : DialogResult<T>
├ Neutral : DialogResult<Nothing>
├ Negative : DialogResult<Nothing>
└ Cancelled: DialogResult<Nothing>

We can now not really conveniently provide Raise over the flat type DialogResult, and are kind-of forced to use DialogResult<Nothing>. However, if we stratify our type differently,

DialogResult<out T>
├ Positive<out T>(value: T) : DialogResult<T>
└ Error : DialogResult<Nothing>
├ Neutral : Error
├ Negative : Error
└ Cancelled: Error

We can again benefit from Raise<DialogResult.Error>, and the reason that this is much more desirable, it that you can now also interop with Either!

dialogResult {
val x: DialogResult.Positive(1).bind()
val y: Int = DialogResult.Error.left().bind()
x + y

That can be useful if you need to for example want to accumulate errors, you can now benefit from the default behavior in Kotlin.

fun dialog(int: Int): DialogResult<Int> =
if(int % 2 == 0) DialogResult.Positive(it) else Dialog.Neutral

val res: Either<NonEmptyList<DialogResult.Error>, NonEmptyList<Int>> =
listOf(1, 2, 3).mapOrAccumulate { i: Int ->
dialog(it).getOrElse { raise(it) }

dialogResult {
res.mapLeft { ... }.bind()
Further discussion

This section was created as a response to this issue in our repository. Let's create great docs for Arrow together!