Tutorial: Tour

In this tutorial you will learn how to use some of the more complicated built ins that aren't immediately obvious from the Quick Ref.

Note that the Quick Ref should print nicely in 3 pages in Chrome/Brave, if it doesn't, here is a pdf. Also FYI you may sort by any column.

There aren't many examples here [yet?], but there are many in Ops.hs.

Filter (not∘)

Filter (like many ops that want a function that returns a boolean) have no use for a tuple return, so ~ is taken to mean not composed with the function after ~. Note that filter normally requires the function to use its argument (due to reqfn), but filter is special in that if you are using ~ for not, then the function doesn't have to use its argument.

Zip With

See the zipop table at the bottom of the Quick Ref for all supported ops. ~ can be used to do a true zip with a custom fn.

Note that the 2nd arg doesn't have to be a list, if a scalar it will cycle itself.

Currently most of these ops will not support lists of tuples, but it's high on the todo list to support them.

Foldr / Scanl

If the second arg is a constant then it is treated as an initial value in the fold, otherwise the first (or last in the case of foldr) element of the list is the initial value.

If ~ precedes the function it means it will be describing an initial value and that value is a tuple.

Special Folds / Scans

See the foldop table at the bottom of the Quick Ref for all supported ops. Note that if using > or < it will take an additional expression and do a max/min by that function.

Currently most of these ops will no support lists of tuples or lists of lists but it's high on the todo list to support them.


It is safe, in that if you divide by 0 you will get a signed infinity, except that infinity = 2^128...

Modding by 0 will always return 0.

Drop / Take

Note that ` turns them into ops that also return a list of the elements not selected (like split at in Haskell).

If ~ is used for the first arg then take a 3rd arg and drop/take while that fn is truthy. It is compatible with `.

Negatives wrap once.


This is 1 indexed and wrapped. If you do not want wrapping (and instead want the default value for the element type if out of bounds), then precede the index with ~.


Finds an element index (1 based) or returns 0. If you use ~ instead of an element, then take a fn and find the first index that makes that fn truthy.


An obsure op for 1 nibble, but there aren't that many str int ops needed.

Char Class

Returns a truthy value if a char satisfies that character class (see end of Quick Ref for a table of char classes). Note that syntax is a little different than you'd expect since we need to know the type of the argument before we parse the char class. E.g. you need to do \'z'a instead of \a 'z' to see if 'z' is in the char class a.

Also note that a list of the character is returned if true or empty list if false as a return value rather than something like 1 or 0 (this seemed potentially more useful).

If / Else

Find Indices

If 2nd arg is a fn then find all element indices that make that fn truthy. If 2nd arg is a constant then find all indices of that value.



List Setwise Ops

Split By

This is a quirky op intended to do things like gsub (but as sophisticated as with regexes). It splits a list by consecutive truthy fn returns. But rather than just splitting, it returns a tuple for each match containing the parts that consecutively matched and didn't. This is so that you could reconstruct the original list but with some modification to the true and/or false parts.

Note that false matches precede the truth matches, so in the case it starts with a truth, then there will be an empty list in that first tuple.

Base Conversion

For an explanation of `D see Minutiae:Data. Note that this is a 3 nibble op, but that the lit form is only 2 because we won't need to pay the price of a nibble to specify that the arg is an int (the op knows it will be a hard coded integer constant).


Iterate while uniq is an enhancement on Haskell's iterate. Why would you want to keep iterating once you've seen a repeat (besides not paying the computational cost of checking that)? Since the language is purely functional you are guaranteed to follow an already known cycle. In practice this is useful for skipping having to specify a termination condition. But incase you do want a repeating iteration, use ~ before the function.

Append until null is like iterate except that the result of the function is repeatedly prepended to a list. And once there is nothing to prepend it terminates, returning the reverse of the entire list. This gives the illusion of appending, except that it is more efficient and makes referencing recently added elements easier. There are some enhancements to make this as lazy as possible.


Being able to deterministically map any value to a random integer in a range is frequently useful in code golf. Nibbles makes creating "magic functions" extremely easy and compact. In addition to hashing it also automatically adds salt. It uses the data (see Minutiae:Data) for salt by converting it to base 256 then adding it to the end of the value as a string. (If you do not want salt then use ~). You do not need to actually provide data, it will default to empty.

Finding the correct salt is typically done with brute force and Nibbles attempts to make this easy by providing two functions to do it for you. Both take the set of inputs you expect to see, followed by the range you would like answers to be in (0...n). The next arg is the max value you would allow your salt to be (or ~ if you want to let it search forever).

fs finds salt that makes those inputs to exact outputs specified in the last arg.

fsb finds salt by truthy values from the last arg as a function of the inputs.

I have an idea for designing a hash function that would allow fs to not require brute force and be able to find extremely improbable mappings, but it is its own side project and hopefully to come in the future.

FYI this could be a 1 char lit op because the second arg is a hard coded integer, but I like `# for now.


error Let's you print a custom error message. This can be useful to see if a value is ever lazily used or not. This also prints the nibbles version which could be useful if you are attempting to run code on a server where you do not have access to command line args and are unsure what version they are running.

The value doesn't have to be a constant either, so you could use it to inspect some inner computation without having to drastically rearrange the code.

pt Prints the type of a value and terminates at compile time.

ct Prints the current context of all DeBruijn indices and terminates at compile time.

Don't forget about p let set and \ (lambda) too, highly useful for larger programs.

Creating Your Own Functions

It is actually somewhat rare to need to create your own functions in code golf. But none-the-less there are times that it could definitely be useful to apply the same logic in unrelated parts of the program.

This can be done using the ;~ extension. ;~ takes two arguments, treating the second one as a function and passing it the first. But it also adds that function to the context for later use.


;~3 *$$

and now we can use that square function with $. E.g. $4 gives 16.

Note that we can even square strings now. E.g. $"5" gives 25.

It may seem odd that we couldn't define a function without using it. But this is code golf, why would you want to!


Define your own divmod (and call it)!

Hint: The first argument to ;~ is actually a function of no arguments (which allows you to pass a tuple into your function).

p : # pretty print 1st call ;~ ~10 3 ~/$@ %$@ # create fn and call it $ # get the snd result p : # pretty print 2nd call @ 20 5 # call it again $ # get the snd result

Notice that the second use of your function didn't require you to use ~. It knew it took two arguments.

Recursive Functions

Unfortunately recursive functions (without type specifications) are difficult to implement because when we recurse we don't yet know the return type. Luckily there is a hacky way to get around this, that actually makes the code even shorter!

Recursive functions always need a base case to terminate (actually that's not true for lazy evaluation, but you will probably not be using your functions like this), and the base case is easy to deduce the type of. So recursive functions are implemented as a function that returns 3 things.

  1. the condition for when to use the recursive case
  2. the base case
  3. the recursive case

The recursive case doesn't technically have to recurse, but it does have its fixed point added to the context so that you can recurse with @ (if your function takes 1 argument).

Construct and call a recursive fn with `;. Note that you will need to do ``; if the arg you are passing in is $ @ or _ because this would cause a collision in the binary form for things like ;;$.

Check out the example in the Quick Ref

FYI Recursion is automatically memoized, you can write a naive fibonacci function and it will run in linear time instead of exponential!