What is Functional Programming and Why is it Important?

Functional programming is a style of programming that has been around for a long time, but has seen a recent resurgence in popularity. Many modern programming languages are built on the principles of functional programming, and more and more developers are beginning to see the benefits of using these languages. So what is functional programming, and why is it so important?

In simple terms, functional programming is a style of programming that emphasizes the use of functions.

Functions are self-contained pieces of code that take some input and produce some output. They are easy to test and reuse, which makes them ideal for building large applications.

Functional programming languages are designed to make it easy to write and maintain code that is easy to read and understand. These languages often have features such as type inference, which can help make code more concise and easier to understand. Functional programming languages are also usually statically typed, which means that errors can be caught early on in the development process.

Functional Programming vs Object-Oriented Programming

Functional programming differs from the traditional viewpoint on object-oriented programming. Functional programming doesn't rely on objects that manage state of any kind.

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As a result, one of the biggest benefits of functional programming is that it helps you avoid side effects. A side effect is any change in state that occurs as a result of running a piece of code. For example, if you were to write a function that modifies a global variable, that would be considered a side effect. Side effects can make code difficult to reason about and debug, so avoiding them is crucial.

Parallel Computing

Functional programming is also often used in parallel computing, as it is easy to write code that can be run in parallel without having to worry about synchronization issues. This can lead to significant performance gains on multicore processors.


So why is functional programming so important? Functional programming languages offer many benefits over traditional imperative languages. They help you write more concise and understandable code, and they make it easier to avoid common errors such as race conditions. If you are looking to get started with functional programming, there are many great languages to choose from. Scala, Haskell, and Clojure are all popular options.

I hope this article has helped you understand what functional programming is and why it is so important. Thanks for reading!

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Hey, I'm Nick Dill.

I help people become better software developers with daily tips, tricks, and advice.