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[TCHECK-15] gen/for macro for alternate combinator syntax Created: 02/Apr/14  Updated: 10/Apr/16

Status: Open
Project: test.check
Component/s: None
Affects Version/s: None
Fix Version/s: None

Type: Enhancement Priority: Minor
Reporter: Gary Fredericks Assignee: Gary Fredericks
Resolution: Unresolved Votes: 3
Labels: None

Attachments: Text File TCHECK-15-p1.patch     Text File TCHECK-15-p2.patch     Text File TCHECK-15-p3.patch     Text File TCHECK-15-p4.patch     Text File TCHECK-15.patch    


I think the syntax of clojure.core/for would be a good fit for test.check's combinators. For example:

(defn gen-even-subset
  "Returns a generator that generates an even-cardinality
   subset of the given elements"
  (gen/for [bools (apply gen/tuple (repeat (count elements) gen/boolean))
            :let [true-count (->> bools (filter identity) (count))]
            :when (even? true-count)]
    (->> (map list bools elements)
         (filter first)
         (map second)

This combines the capabilities of fmap, bind, and such-that into a familiar syntax.

One downside here is the temptation to use multiple clauses for independent generators, resulting in a use of gen/bind when gen/tuple would be simpler and presumably shrink easier. An approach to this is an additional supported clause, perhaps called :parallel, that uses the syntax of :let to provide the functionality of gen/tuple:

(gen/for [:parallel [n1 gen/nat
                     n2 gen/nat]
          :let [sum (+ n1 n2)]]
  {:nums [n1 n2] :sum sum})

Compared to gen/tuple, this has the advantage of placing generators syntactically next to names, rather than segregating the generators from the names.

The :parallel feature has not been added to the current patches.

Comment by Gary Fredericks [ 05/Apr/14 3:23 PM ]

I think there might be some design ambiguity around the meaning of :when. In particular, in the following contrived example:

(for [n nat
      v (vec (return n))
      :let [sum (reduce + v)]
      :when (pos? sum)]

In my default design this can hang, for the same reason that this code can hang:

(bind nat 
      (fn [n]
          (fn [v] (pos? (reduce + v)))
          (vector (return n)))))

But it could just as well have been written:

  (fn [v] (pos? (reduce + v)))
  (bind nat (fn [n] (vector (return n)))))

So the issue is whether a :when filter is applied to just the previous generator or to all of the previous generators. I have some hazy notion that the latter would be less efficient in some cases, but I'm not sure what. So I think our options are:

  1. Decide to always do it one way or the other
  2. Provide a third keyword (:when-all?) with different behavior
  3. Don't write this macro at all because it's too difficult to understand

My gut is to do option 1 and just apply :when to the previous generator.

Comment by Gary Fredericks [ 08/Apr/14 9:24 PM ]

Attached my initial draft. The implementation took a lot more thought than I expected, and is a bit subtle, so I included some inline comments explaining the structure of the macro.

Comment by Gary Fredericks [ 13/Apr/14 8:33 PM ]

Attached TCHECK-15-p1.patch, updated to apply to the current master.

Comment by Gary Fredericks [ 16/Apr/14 9:51 PM ]

Attached TCHECK-15-p2.patch which adds a note to the docstring about independent clauses, shrinking, and tuple.

Comment by Gary Fredericks [ 16/Apr/14 9:58 PM ]

Attached TCHECK-15-p3.patch which fixes one bug and one redundancy in namespace aliases.

Comment by Gary Fredericks [ 13/May/14 10:37 AM ]

Attached TCHECK-15-p4.patch which fixes a bug with destructuring (and adds a regression test).

Comment by Gary Fredericks [ 13/May/14 10:38 AM ]

Also might be helpful to note that I've put this in my test.check utility library for now: https://github.com/fredericksgary/test.chuck#for.

Comment by Michael Blume [ 08/Jan/15 12:21 AM ]

I wonder if it'd be possible to avoid :parallel by analyzing the code and checking whether the bindings can be run in parallel?

Comment by Gary Fredericks [ 08/Jan/15 9:16 AM ]

I think it's possible in theory, but we'd need access to a non-buggy code walker.

Additionally you might argue that it makes the meaning of the code a lot more subtle.

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