Pact 4.2.0 Blazes to Mainnet!

Pact 4.2.0 Blazes to Mainnet!


January 19, 2022

At Kadena, we strive for delivering continued improvements to better our user experience in building on our platform. With Pact at the forefront of safe, expressive and performant smart contracts, we are pleased to announce the release of Pact 4.2.0! This version adds anonymous “lambda” functions, new natives for improved user experience, improvements to persistence, and various bugfixes that were weeded out.

The continued improvements to Pact and our commitment to providing better user experience is why Pact is the premier standard for smart contracts. You can try the latest version of Pact out by downloading from our Github or on Mac brew install kadena-io/pact/pact !


4.2.0 brings Lambdas, a major new feature of Pact!

Pact is already a functional language and allows functions to be treated as arguments in special cases like map and fold . However, using these required making top-level function definitions that become part of the smart contract API and require privacy techniques to ensure security. Locally-bound functions are more tightly constrained which decreases exposure and therefore increases security.

It also just brings more expressiveness so you can do more with less Pact code. With lambdas, users can now write let-bound declarations of lambdas as locally-scoped values, as well as fully anonymous functions for use at the call sites. This allows for better code locality in the cases that you would otherwise write a top-level function for one-off functionality.

The best example of how you can use lambdas in your day-to-day building is using them with the new fold-db native — read on!

Powerful new built-in natives

Pact 4.2.0 continues to introduce powerful new operations to make blockchain smart contract programming easier and safer.

fold-db: key/value querying and processing

fold-db brings a fully functional metaphor to database querying, provides key querying for the first time, and solves key handling in results by delegating querying and list processing to functions you provide that take the key and value pair.

In the following example, we select all bonds with keys starting with p: and a lockup of greater than 30 days, by binding a lambda to query . We also provide an anonymous lambda for the processing function that simply returns the key and the value as a single object.

(let* ( (query (lambda (key value) (and (= "p:" (take 2 k)) (> (at 'lockup value) 30))) ) (fold-db bonds (query) (lambda (k o) { "key": k, "value": o })))

Community-initiated new natives: zip and cond

Pact benefits from an engaged and active community generating new ideas and requirements for making Pact the best smart contract language. These new natives were proposed by community builders.

  • zip allows you to take any two lists and a combining function f for each pair of elements, and returns a new list with f applied to each pair. In the following example, we zip two lists of integers using addition (+) as our combining function, and receive a list containing their pairwise sum.
;; (+) is applied pairwise;; so we get the resulting list [(+ 1 4) (+ 2 5) (+ 3 6)];; which evaluates to [5 7 9](zip (+) [1 2 3] [4 5 6])
  • cond is our new macro for multiple branching conditional expressions. As an example, the following code will branch on scoreto return an award name. If score is less than 10 it will return "Bronze", otherwise if it is less than 20 it will return "Silver" and so forth, and finally in the case that none of the previous conditions succeed, returns "Platinum":
(defun award:string (score:integer) (cond ((< score 10) "Bronze") ((< score 20) "Silver") ((< score 30) "Gold") "Platinum")))

Detailed Lambda Example: Advent of Code 2021 Day 1

This example (part 2 of AOC day 1) requires creating sliding windows of 3 elements from a list of measurements (as integers), and counting how many windows increased from the previous sum. In pact 4.2.0, we can express this algorithm as:

(defun day1 (li:[integer]) (let* ( (sum (lambda (x:[integer]) (fold (+) 0 x))) (ptl (lambda (x:integer y:integer) [x, y])) (append (lambda (x:[integer] y:integer) (+ x [y]))) (gt-window (lambda (x:integer y:integer) (if (< x y) 1 0))) (triples (zip (append) (zip (ptl) li (drop 1 li)) (drop 2 li)) (triple-sums (map (sum) triples)) ) (sum (zip (gt-window) triple-sums (drop 1 triple-sums))))

Breaking it down:

  • We start with an original list li, containing the list of integers.
  • We create a few helper functions using our new lambda keyword: sum for adding together a list of ints, ptl which will group a pair of elements into a list of two elements, append which appends a single element to a list, gt-window which will check whether the previous sum of a window is greater.
  • With our helper functions created, we can create an element triples which consists of a list of 3-element groupings of measurements which is our sliding windows, using our new native, zip, which takes two lists and applies a combining function to them.
  • Having triples, we can construct triple-sums, which is the sum of each sliding window.
  • Finally, we use zip again to compare each element of triple-sums with the element that follows, and sum the result to count how many elements are indeed increases from the previous sliding window.

While the solution can be optimized to avoid creating intermediate structures (namely, triple-sums could be constructed more directly), this form of solution illustrates how the expressive abilities of pact allow users to tackle problems in clear pieces, and with the addition of lambda expressions, avoid top-level declarations for single-use functions.


To learn more about writing safe, smart, and smoking fast contracts in Pact, visit our educational resources:

  • find videos, tutorials, information on key concepts and example code.
  • Try Pact — start exploring Pact (4.2.0) in your browser, no downloads necessary!
  • Beta test smart contracts — get in touch with the team via Discord if you want to participate in our public blockchain testnet.