PureScript on Azure Functions

PureScript on Azure Functions

PureScript on Azure Functions

Serverless architecture is one of the hottest topics in cloud computing, allowing developers to build and run applications and services without thinking about the servers actually running the code, providing a scalable model for building distributed, event-driven systems, as well as significantly reducing operational costs.

Microsoft’s take on the serverless problem is service called Azure Functions. Out of the box, it supports .Net languages (C# and F#), Python, Java and JavaScript. The last one is very important, as nowadays there exist a wide variety of languages that can compile down to JS. And today, I’ll talk about one of such languages — PureScript.

PureScript is a strongly-typed, purely functional programming language heavily inspired by Haskell. It supports a set of advanced language features such as higher kinded types, type classes, row polymorphism and many other features I don’t understand.


To get started with Azure Functions and PureScript you need to install several dependencies. First of all, you need Node.JS and NPM as it is the runtime for Azure Functions, and is used by the PureScript toolchain. Secondly, you need PureScript itself — you can download and install it using npm with npm install -g purescript. Next thing is some additional PureScript tooling, you can get it with npm install -g bower pulp. In the end, you also need to install Azure Functions tooling that will enable you to build and test your serverless application locally. This tooling can be found on GitHub — https://github.com/Azure/azure-functions-core-tools.

Getting Started with Azure Functions

We will start by creating a simple JS function. In the local folder run func init MyFunctionProj. When prompted, use the arrow keys to select a node worker runtime from the language choices. This will create a new folder and a new NodeJS Function Application inside. Inside the new folder initialize new NPM project in it with npm init. After you’re done with answering all the prompts, we will create our first endpoint — func new — name MyHttpTrigger — template “HttpTrigger”.

Without going into details, Azure Functions is an event-driven system that supports multiple different types of triggers and bindings. The template we’ve chosen will create simples possible function that is triggered by an HTTP request and returns an HTTP response. If you want to learn more about possible triggers and bindings visit Azure Function documentation — https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-functions/functions-triggers-bindings

After all those operations are done you should have following folder structure:

 | — MyHttpTrigger
 | | — index.js
 | | — function.json
 | — node_modules
 | — host.json
 | — package.json

You can now test your first Azure Function! Run in terminal func host start and wait a moment. After everything is initialized you should see (among other things something like: MyHttpTrigger: [GET,POST] http://localhost:7071/api/MyHttpTrigger. You can now visit this URL and see some output in the browser.

Adding PureScript to the mix

Adding PureScript to your project is fairly simple, and just requires some small changes to the project files. Firstly, still in the same directory, let’s create new PureScript project — pulp init — force. (You need to use — force flag as there already exists .gitignore file in the folder). Your directory should now contain several additional elements:

  • bower.json — contains library dependency information
    * bower_components/ — a directory for installed dependencies
    * src/Main.purs — Entry point module for your project
    * test/Main.purs — An empty test suite.

At this point, you should be able to build the project — pulp build, by default the compiled JS code is put into output folder. But it’s not yet plugged into our HTTP trigger. Before doing that, let’s make our PureScript code bit more interesting.

This section is following PureScript getting started guide

The first step will be installing external PureScript library — bower install purescript-lists — save. Now, open the folder in your favourite editor (VSCode) and go the src/Main.purs file. Let’s replace its content with solution to the Project Euler #1

We can now build the code with pulp build — skip-entry-point command. Now it’s high time to plug our PureScript code into Azure Functions. Open MyHttpTrigger/index.js file and put there following code.

As you can see, it’s fairly straightforward. The most important thing is the require call that will load compiled-to-JS PureScript code. After that, we can call any function defined in PureScript as normal JS function.

At this point, you can start your function again (func host start) go to the given URL and check if the answer to the Project Euler problem is correct.


There exist multiple different ways of deploying Azure Function applications — from Continues Deployment on every push to the repository, through complex build scripts to simple uploading zip file. For starters, the last method is the simplest one. You need to zip all the necessary files — MyHttpTrigger folder, output folder, host.json and package.json files. After you have zip file you can use Azure Portal, Azure CLI or simple calls to the REST API to upload the Function.

To learn more about deploying Azure Functions Applications visit official documentation — https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-functions/deployment-zip-push


Finishing up, in this blog post I’ve shown how easy it is to use modern, advanced, purely functional programming language — PureScript — on the serverless platform — Azure Functions. The example repository containing all sample code can be found on GitHub — https://github.com/Krzysztof-Cieslak/AzureFunctionsPureScript

Krzysztof Cieslak's Picture

About Krzysztof Cieslak

Krzysztof is a F# developer and consultant, open source contributor, conference speaker

Lodz, Poland http://kcieslak.io