7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Functional Programming | Drawbacks & Benefits of Functional Programming

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7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Functional Programming | Drawbacks & Benefits of Functional Programming


7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Functional Programming | Drawbacks & Benefits of Functional Programming
Functional programming is a programming paradigm based on the mathematical concepts which builds programs by comparing functions. In simple words, the program is executed through the use of function calls. It is completely different from the concept of imperative programming where the program execution is based on instructions to the processor. 

Through the way how functional programming supports paradigms and styles, there are two types of functional programming languages. Those are the Pure functional languages and Impure functional languages. Pure functional languages are entirely based on functional paradigms. Whereas, impure functional languages support both functional paradigms and imperative styles. 

Functional programming has been the core programming concept for the software companies, only until the invention of Object Oriented Programming (OOP). It's been in the use for several decades. However, still many prefer functional programming for its nature of testing and predictability. Modern programming languages like JavaScript, Haskell, Scala, Racket, ML, and Lisp are all compatible with functional programming. 

The ability of functional programming to handle complex computational tasks makes it a favorite choice for programming. High degree of abstraction is also possible. There are other features like creating pure functions without side effects. This is known as Deterministic Functions. There exists several other reasons why you should implement functional programming. Unfortunately, there are also situation when not to use functional programming. As a programmer, you must know what are the main advantages and disadvantages of functional programming. 

In this article, I will be demonstrating about 7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Functional Programming | Drawbacks & Benefits of Functional Programming. From this post, you will know the pros and cons of functional programming.

Let's get started,

Advantages of Functional Programming

1. Simplicity

The programming languages those are based on the functional paradigms are known as pure functional languages. They are only dependent on the input. So the output is definitely the return value. By looking at the function signature, programmer can easily identify important details. And also, pure functions create a clean structure which is the reason for the programmers to write a simple code. 

2. Scalability

A program developed needs to handle multiple threads simultaneously. Otherwise, there can be memory inconsistencies within the threads. If multiple threads can read/write precisely, we can say that the program is scalable.

3. Code Reusability

The functions used in a FP program is made to be reusable. Regardless of any scenario it can be reused. In case of necessity, the functions can be passed as parameters or else returned again as functions. 


4. Testing & Debugging

The testing and debugging process is also easier with pure functions. There is only input values in pure functions which makes it simple to identify errors. And while handling errors, you need to deal with one exact function. As a result of this, even beginners can enhance the correctness of their application. 

5. Readability

Compared to imperatives, the codes in functional programming is less complicated. The time spent by a programmer in understanding the code structure is very less. Pure functions doesn't often change states which increases the readability of values.

6. Lazy Evaluation

Functional programming comes with a feature known as lazy evaluation. This ensures that repeated evaluations are prevented. Only the required values are stored. Eventually, the program will perform faster because all the unnecessary details needed for the queries are eradicated.

7. No Side Effects

To make sure that there is good coding approach, all the side effects needs to be necessarily be removed. If not, it can result in different outcomes for the same input. One popular example for a side effect is the shared variable. To overcome this, functional code makes use of immutability.

Disadvantages of Functional Programming

1. Performance

New concept called immutability is introduced in functional programming. This approach is well known to generate garbage. Therefore, the tasks assigned will require significant amount of variables which will eventually decrease performance.

2. Memory Consumption

Al though immutable variables does not alter the existing variables, a new variable is created instead. This is a problematic situation where the actual data just needs to be copied. One such example is the nested data structure. If the data is frequently copied, it will further increase the memory consumption.

3. Tools & Framework Support

Most of the cloud service providers and other services impose restrictions with regards to the programming language. As compared to other programming languages like JavaScript or Java, the community in functional programming is basically smaller. Hence, very less number of tools and frameworks are supported.

4. Loops Compatibility

Functional programming does not support loops. Thus, for iterations there is no proper method other than recursions. Unfortunately, the concept of recursion are bit complicated similar to mathematics. Especially, for the people are only familiar with the OOP approach.

5. Data Duplication

Functional programming also struggles in cases where is a need to duplicate data. One such instance is when handling data structures. In the above mentioned situation, functional programming does not allow you to update variable. The result of this is again the loss of performance.

6. Mathematical Concepts

Functional programs are logically connected to mathematics. The mathematical concepts included in functional programming languages are way too complex. This is one of the reasons why new developers often refuse to learn FP. It takes considerable amount of time and effort to grasp these concepts.

7. Community Support

Since the community is not so great in functional programming languages, we can say that the experts in this field is also lesser. If a developer encounters a problem in functional programming, they need to rely on third party vendors. Now these vendors might charge an amount for their service. 

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