The structure of an end-to-end Purescript OTP project

Published on 2019-8-15

All the posts so far..

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The structure of an end-to-end Purescript OTP project

Our demo-ps can be viewed as two separate chunks of code, the base layer is just a plain old Erlang application built using rebar3 and such, and then on top of that we have a pile of Purescript that compiles into Erlang that can then be compiled and used by the usual development workflow.

The Erlangy bits

The purescript bits

In an ideal world, we'd just have a single Purescript entry point and forego our interaction with the Erlang world, but this would involve building out a lot more tooling - the result of this, is that sometimes you will be bringing Purescript dependencies down that require Erlang dependencies and then adding these to rebar.config and the entry point will be your responsibility.

The purescript dependencies can be found in in psc-package.json inside the server and client directories, and the Erlang dependencies can be found in rebar.config at the top level.

As a team already familiar with the Erlang ecosystem, this doesn't represent a hardship for us; but this definitely represents an area which could be improved by an enterprising developer or two, probably a plugin to the Purescript stack that stashes the rebar assets/etc in another build folder and allows us to just write PS/Erlang in the right place. (But this would then also involve modifying our editor plugins to know about this new structure, and as you can already see, it's a lot of work when we have something that is already functional..)

That entry point then

{application, demo_ps,
 [{description, "An OTP application"},
  {vsn, "0.1.0"},
  {registered, []},
  {mod, { bookApp@ps, []}},
  {modules, []},
  {maintainers, []},
  {licenses, []},
  {links, []}

One of the key things to note here, is that we have cowboy as a dependency, this is to support (as mentioned), the Purescript libraries that binds to it (stetson and erl-cowboy.

The other big note, is that entry point module is 'bookApp@ps' - that module can be found in server/src/BookApp.purs, which defines a module 'BookApp' - the Purescript compiler will compile Purescript modules into *@ps*, as this is unlikely to clash with anything else in the global application namespace. Beyond this entry point there is no Erlang code in the application itself - it's Purescript all the way down...

The Makefile in server/Makefile does the work of compiling this Purescript into Erlang that can then be compiled by the usual rebar3 toolchain. The gist of the below Makefile being that we take all the .purs files lying around in the 'server' folder, and compile them into .erl files that end up in ../../src/compiled_ps.

We'll go into detail on the Purescript stuff in the next post, as that's the key; we put a pile of Erlang supporting files in the right location, and then write PS in the other location and everything "just kinda works".

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