Day 15: Rudolph on Raku

Finding a way home to the North pole with Physics::Navigation

So, Rudolph has been worried about getting Santa and the other reindeer back home to the North Pole after an exhausting flight to visit all the (well-behaved) Children on the Globe.

He has heard a rumour that the North Pole keeps moving due to the precession of molten iron at the Earth’s core and that every year it creeps around a bit with relation to Santa’s workshop, which lies at the True North Pole.

Luckily he has been on a navigation skills course and has learned about how to specify a position on the globe using a combination of Latitude and Longitude. However, these seem all of a muddle as they are alike and yet different. What Rudi needs is a way to structure his navigation to ensure that he does not mix them up. Even better, he is good friends with Larry and knows that he can trust the Raku type system to get him home. In fact, Raku has a lot of ways to make the life of a reindeer|developer better, find out more at

Let’s see how he does it:

use Physics::Unit;
use Physics::Measure;

class NavAngle is Angle {
  has Unit  $.units is rw where *.name eq '°';
  multi method new( Str:D $s ) {
    my ($decimal, $compass) = NavAngle.defn-extract( $s );
    my $type;
    given $compass {
      when <N S>.any   { $type = 'Latitude' }
      when <E W>.any   { $type = 'Longitude' }
      when <M T H>.any { $type = 'Bearing' }
      default          { nextsame }
    ::($type).new( value => $nominal, compass => $compass );
  method defn-extract( NavAngle:U: Str:D $s ) {
    #handle degrees-minutes-seconds <°> is U+00B0 <′> is U+2032 <″> is U+2033
    unless $s ~~ /(\d*)\°(\d*)\′?(\d*)\″?\w*(<[NSEWMTH]>)/ { return 0 };
    my $deg where 0 <= * < 360 = $0 % 360;
    my $min where 0 <= * <  60 = $1 // 0;
    my $sec where 0 <= * <  60 = $2 // 0;
    my $decimal = ( ($deg * 3600) + ($min * 60) + $sec ) / 3600;
    my $compass = ~$3;

    say "NA extracting «$s»: value is $deg°$min′$sec″, compass is $compass" if $db;
    return($decimal, $compass)
  method Str {
    my ( $deg, $min ) = self.dms( :no-secs ); 
    $deg = sprintf( "%03d", $deg );
    qq{$deg° $.compass}
#real code at (work in progress)

So Rudi has created a NavAngle class that inherits the Angle class provided by Physics::Unit by writing ‘NavAngle is Angle’ and created some general methods that ‘know’ that <N S> are Latitude and <E W> are Longitude. There’s also the notion of <M T H> for Bearing (more on that later). Here you can also see that Raku has a very flexible switch that uses ‘given-when-default’ keywords to specify control flow.

This new class ‘has’ one attribute defined – $.units. The Raku $. twigil indicates that this is a public attribute and automatically provides accessor get and set methods with no need for extra code. So when you to set the value, the ‘where’ constraint checks that $ eq ‘°’. That way we enforce that our NavAngle objects are specified in degrees ‘°’ and prevent the use of other available Angle units such as radians or grads.

Having attended the Greenland Grammar school, he knows that the Raku regex capability and unicode support can make short work of degrees, minutes and seconds. Value constraints will stop him from flying off at 451 degrees.

A couple of other nice Raku capabilities are shown here (i) the ‘::($type)’ name interpolation allows types to be handled as variables and acted on programmatically, (ii) the parameter capture ‘( Str:D $s )’ checks the type and defined-ness of function parameters and (iii) the ‘= $1 // 0’ combination tests for defined-ness and thus assigns a default value. Rudolph is happy to see that all these tools sit nicely together in a comprehensible language syntax.

Latitude and Longitude

Now the basics are in place, Rudolph can easily define the Latitude and Longitude child classes using inheritance:

class Latitude is NavAngle {
	has Real  $.value is rw where 0 <= * <= 90; 
	has Str   $.compass is rw where <N S>.any;
class Longitude is NavAngle {
	has Real  $.value is rw where 0 <= * <= 180; 
	has Str   $.compass is rw where <E W>.any;

The constraints are adjusted – now the children have their own $.value and $.compass attributes – to reflect the different value limits of each child class. The brackets are equivalent to (‘N’, ‘S’) – they are quicker to type since you do not have to use quotes around every word.

Rudolph can set his Latitude position by creating a new instance of the Latitude class with the standard Raku constructor: my $lat = value => 45, compass => <N> ); say ~$lat; #OUTPUT 43° N

But this is quite long winded and he is impatient to get home. Great news, he can create a Raku custom operator to let him easily specify and initialise new instances from a quoted string. In this case, he decides to use a unicode pisces ’emoji’ – ♓️ …

multi infix:<♓️> ( Any:U $left is rw, Str:D $right ) {
$left = $right );

Now he can quickly hoof in his coordinates:

my $lat ♓️ <55°30′30″S>; say ~$lat; #OUTPUT 55°30.5 S
my $long ♓️ <45°W>; say ~$long; #OUTPUT 45° W

Magnetic vs. True North

Now he knows where he is, Rudolph can set a course to steer home to the North Pole. But wait, how can he adjust for the difference between Magnetic north on his Compass and True North, his destination?

Rudolph has another trick up his (antler) sleeve:

class CompassAdjustment { ... }         #predeclare since we want to refer to this class before we write it

#keyword 'our' used to declare package-wide variables
our $variation = 0;			#optional variation (Compass-Adjustment)
our $deviation = 0;			#optional deviation (Compass-Adjustment)

#| Bearing embodies the identity 'M = T + Vw', so...
#| Magnetic = True + Variation-West [+ Deviation-West]
class Bearing is NavAngle {
	has Real  $.value is rw where 0 <= * <= 360;	#must be between 0 and 360 degrees
	has Str   $.compass where <M T>.any;		#either Magnetic or True

	method M {			#output method always returns the Magnetic Bearing
		if $.compass eq <M> { return( self ) } 
		else { return( self + ( $variation + $deviation ) ) }
	method T {			#output method always returns the True Bearing
		if $.compass eq <T> { return( self ) } 
		else { return( self - ( $variation + $deviation ) ) }

   sub check-same( $l, $r ) {		#can only add/subtract where both are Magnetic or both are True
	if $r ~~ CompassAdjustment { 
        if ! $l.compass eq $r.compass {
            die "Cannot combine Bearings of different Types!"
    #these math methods override the ones provided by Physics::Measure::Angle
    #they handle the custom +/- infix operators defined in Physics::Measure
    #they extend the (grand)parent methods with logic to handle the $.compass attributes
    method add( $r is rw ) {
        my $l = self;
        check-same( $l, $r );
        $l.value += $r.value;
 	$l.compass( $r.compass );
        return $l
    method subtract( $r is rw ) {
        my $l = self;
        check-same( $l, $r );
        $l.value -= $r.value; 
	$l.compass( $r.compass );
        return $l

# now we can finally write our CompassAdjustment class
# we had to wait until now since is also is a child of Bearing

class CompassAdjustment is Bearing {
	has Real  $.value is rw where -180 <= * <= 180;			#the adjustment is up to 180 degrees either way

	#we override the parent compass accessors since we want to provide extra logic for <W E>
	#we want add/subtract to add W variations and subtract E variations
	#we do this by storing the value as a signed Real and negating the return value when its <E>
	multi method compass {						#get compass
		given $.value {
			when * >= 0 { return <W>, 0 }
			when * < 0  { return <E>, 1 }
	multi method compass( Str $compass ) {				#set compass
		given $compass {
			when <W>   { }		#no-op
			when <E>   { $.value = -$.value }
			default    { die "Compass-Adjustment must be <W E>.any" }

Now, after setting the compass variation, Rudolph can enter in their magnetic compass reading and get back the Bearing to True North.

$Physics::Navigation::variation = value => 7, compass => ‘W’);

my $bear ♓️ <43°30′30″M>;

say ~$bear; #OUTPUT 43°30.5 M

say ~$bear.T; #OUTPUT 43°37.5 T

Santa could even steer to starboard or port by doing addition or subtraction of the course change Bearing. It can be surprising to have non standard behaviour of +/- depending on the object type – that’s one benefit of ♓️ unicode operators … they act as a warning that language mutations are lurking in these code regions.

And should Santa be bringing home a sleigh full unwanted ferrous Christmas presents (bikes, climbing frames, Meccano sets and so on), then this can be accommodated with the $Physics::Navigation::deviation setting.

And finally Santa, Rudolph and the other reindeer can rest their weary bones around the glowing fire at home after a long night’s work!

Merry Christmas to one and all (and any) p6steve. (p6 is pronounced “Physics”)

One thought on “Day 15: Rudolph on Raku

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