# Combining values of the same type

beginner

## Having one or more values

#### Problem

I have:

• One or more values of type A.

I want to have:

• A single value of type A.

#### Solution

If you have several values of the same type (at least one), you can combine them into a single value. combine is a binary operation; i.e., you need two values of type A to combine them into one.

If you have more than two elements, you can either chain multiple combine calls, or use combineAll, which accepts a variadic number of parameters.

This operation is available in the Semigroup type class, and it is an associative operation. Your type must conform to Semigroup in order to have combine available.

#### Example

Basic types like numeric types or Strings already conform to Semigroup in Bow. For instance, we can combine Int values like:

let x = 2
let y = 5
let z = 8

x.combine(y) // Returns 7
Int.combineAll(x, y, z) // Returns 15

The operation is associative; that is, we can first combine x and y, and then z, or first y and z, and then x.

x.combine(y).combine(z) == x.combine(y.combine(z))
let a = "Hello"
let b = "World"

a.combine(b) != b.combine(a)

## Having zero or more values

#### Problem

I have:

• Zero or more values of type A.

I want to have:

• A single value of type A.

#### Solution

The problem described here is similar to the problem above, with the difference of potentially having no values. We can use combine, but we need to provide a default value when no values are combined.

This default value is empty and it is available in the Monoid type class. empty has the property of being combinable with any other element of the type, yielding the same value it is combined with.

#### Example

Like with Semigroups, basic types in Swift already conform to Monoid in Bow.

x.combine(Int.empty()) // Returns x
Int.empty().combine(x) // Returns x

#### Problem

I have my own type and I need to combine elements of this type.

#### Solution

You need to use Swift extension mechanisms to make your type conform to Semigroup and Monoid, guaranteeing that your implementation honors the properties of both type classes.

#### Example

Consider a type to model a shopping cart:

struct ShoppingCart<Product> {
let products: [Product]
let amount: Double
}

If I need to give it the ability to combine its values, I need to determine how each of its properties are combined with the ones in other values. In this case:

• products can be combined by concatenating the arrays of the two carts that are being combined.
• amount can be combined by adding the amounts of the two carts.

Therefore, I can make an extension to conform to Semigroup:

extension ShoppingCart: Semigroup {
func combine(_ other: ShoppingCart<Product>) -> ShoppingCart<Product> {
ShoppingCart(
products: self.products + other.products,
amount: self.amount + other.amount
)
}
}

If I need to give it the ability to have an empty value, I need to determine how each of its properties need to be initialized to an empty value. In this case:

• products can be initialized to an empty array.
• amount can be initialized to 0.0.

Therefore, I can make an extension to conform to Monoid`:

extension ShoppingCart: Monoid {
static func empty() -> ShoppingCart<Product> {
ShoppingCart(
products: [],
amount: 0.0
)
}
}

## Are all types that conform to Semigroup also conform to Monoid?

If your type conforms to Monoid it also must conform to Semigroup, but the reverse is not true. You may be able to combine values of a type, but not be able to provide an empty value.

One example of this is the NonEmptyArray type, which, as its name suggests, is never empty; therefore, it cannot provide an empty value for the combination.