So, Russia 2018 World Cup is over. There were lots of good moments, and some worse (especially for us, here in Poland….). But is there something we can learn from this event as programmers? Recently, I had a few free evenings and played a bit with a World Cup API. In this post I want to show you what is Clojure way of dealing with REST APIs and when it beats other languages in this field.
TLDR; The code is on GitHub. Setup is based on Atom and proto-repl package which makes interactive development experience really pleasant. I highly recommend you following it’s installation guide while dealing with my solution.
As a problem to solve, I wanted to find something not trivial, to show some of the Clojure super-powers. Finally, I came up with this:
The problem: find all matches that winning team made a come-back — they lost a goal first but managed to win.
For example Sweden — Germany in a group stage:
Ok, so a good starting point would be getting all matches data for further processing. I’m using
clj-http as an http client (with
cheshire for json parsing support):
The Clojure philosophy relies heavily on dealing with built-in data structures. In statically typed languages you’d probably start with modeling response JSON as some POJO classes; here you just get a map and can start to investigate it right from the beginning. Huge difference.
One thing that may be not clear in above code is this
-> macro. It is really helpful for nested collection operations. Instead of nesting
(xxx (yyy (zzz … calls, you can use both
->> macros to make code similar to e.g. Java equivalent:
Ok, let’s start to investigate the API response. Using
proto-repl it is trivial to examine a value of any data structure straight from your editor. Let’s see the match data — by using
Proto REPL: Execute Block action —
ctrl+alt+,s shortcut by default:
Ok, so we have some basic attributes of the match, number of goals for each team and some team events. Let’s investigate these:
Looks promising — we have all the times of the goals scored by each team. Having this, our algorithm may look like this:
- Get times of goals for each team
- Sort goals by times
- Get the team with the first goal
- Check if the winner is the other team
Let’s start with filtering the goals from team’s events. First, we need to find how to filter goals from match events:
Ok, so we have
We’ll also need the time when the goal was scored and this is in a really strange format, e.g
90'+4'. We need to
+ character, remove
trim and then add additional time to get exact minute of the goal:
Bartek Tartanus (thanks!) found a bug in just adding additional time to half time: suppose we had late goal in the first half and early goal in the second (
46) — my algorithm will pick second half goal as earlier. We need to somehow pass half (or part for extra-time) data to sort goal times. Fortunately, Clojure sorts collections of pairs well:
We need to calculate both half (part) and exact time of scoring a goal:
Now we can test improved sorting:
Seems to work!
So let’s now try to find the team that scored a first goal. My idea was to mix both
:away goal times in one collection:
([:home [1 38]] [:home [1 39]] [:away [1 28]])
and then sort by times:
([:away [1 28]] [:home [1 38]] [:home [1 39]])
to know the side that scored first goal (
:away in this case).
first to get the first pair from sorted collection and then
first again to get the first element from the pair:
To create a list with goal times and side I used this function:
What’s happening in this last line? So
repeat returns an infinite lazy sequence with an element repeated and
vector just creates an indexed collection from provided elements.
map can also take two collections, applying provided function to pairs:
<c1_first, c2_first>, <c1_second, c2_second>...
Which leads us easily to this:
Ok, now we are ready write this
come-back? function now:
Let’s see if it works, just filter the team’s data from the match to remove noise:
Ok, we got some results! But, hmm… Morocco — Iran?
0:1 with last-minute own goal? This definitely doesn’t look like come-back…. Let’s look at this match events:
Ok, now I can see the problem. Own goals are contained in wrong side’s events! This goal should be in Iran’s events, otherwise our solution won’t work…
We can make a special case for own goals or just move own goals to correct side events. I decided to go with the second solution, knowing that Clojure is really good at transforming nested data structures e.g. with
update takes a map, a key and a function and applies to value under that key, leaving rest of the map untouched.
update-in works the same, but you can pass a whole path to some nested element in your data structure.
update to move all the own-goals from
:away_team_events and vice-versa:
And finally let’s fix
Check the results again:
Yes, we have it! We found 9 such games, with overall leader Croatia coming back 3 times (2 by penalties).