Pattern Matching


What's a Term?

In the video we used the word term as in "match the term on the right-hand side". If you poke around the Elixir documentation you'll see references to term as well.

A term is a value of any data type: a string, an atom, a map, a list, etc.

Shortcut: Using Atoms As Map Keys

Elixir atoms are prefixed by a colon. For example, here's a map that uses atoms as keys:

%{ :method => "GET", :path => "/wildthings" }

However, it's so common to use atoms as keys that Elixir gives us a shortcut. And we love shortcuts, so we used it in the video:

%{ method: "GET", path: "/wildthings" }

This form is more concise: we removed the => and put the colon (:) on the other side of the atom. (Wow, that sounded scientific!)

If the keys are anything but atoms, you must use the general => form. For example, here's a map with strings as keys:

%{ "method" => "GET", "path" => "/wildthings" }

Code So Far

The code for this video is in the parse directory found within the video-code directory of the code bundle.