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January 6, 2020

Clojure Goodness: Joining Elements in a Collection

We can use the join function from the clojure.string namespace to join elements from a collection into a string. We can optionally specify a separator that is used to separate each element in the string output. The separator is not used after the last element of the collection. If we don't specify a separator the elements are concatenated without separation. The string representation for each element in the collection is used in the joined end result.

In the following example code we see different usages of the join function:

(ns mrhaki.sample
  (:import [java.util Currency Locale])
  (:require [clojure.string :refer [join]]
            [clojure.test :refer [is]]))

;; Join without explicit separator simply concats values in collection.
(is (= "abc" (join ["a" "b" "c"])))

;; Join with separator uses separator between elements from collection
;; and omits the separator after the last element.
(is (= "a, b, c" (join ", " ["a" "b" "c"])))

;; Join works on multiple collection types, 
;; because each collection is transformed to a seq.
(is (= "a::b::c" (join "::" #{"a" "b" "c"})))

;; Collection with non-strings is also returned as string.
;; The string representation of each element is used.
(is (= "0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10" (join " " (range 11))))
(is (= ",EUR" (join \, [( "https" "" 443 "/")
                                                    (Currency/getInstance (Locale. "nl" "NL"))])))

;; Nil values are ignored in the join results, 
;; but separator is still used for nil element.
(is (= "Clojure--is cool--!" (join "-" ["Clojure" nil "is cool" nil "!"])))

;; Function query-params to transform a map structure with 
;; keyword keys to URL request parameters.
(defn query-params 
  "Return key/value pairs as HTTP request parameters separated by &.
   Each request parameter name and value is separated by =.
   E.g. {:q \"Clojure\" :max 10 :start 0 :format \"xml\"} is transformed
   to q=Clojure&max=10&start=0&format=xml."
  (let [query-param (fn [[param-name param-value]] (join "=" [(name param-name) param-value]))]
    (join "&" (map query-param params))))

(is (= "q=Clojure&max=10&start=0&format=xml" (query-params {:q "Clojure" :max 10 :start 0 :format "xml"})))

Written with Clojure 1.10.1