This page covers Elm 0.18

Structure of Html.program


import Html exposing (Html, div, text, program)
  • We will use the Html type from the Html module, plus a couple of functions div, text and program.


type alias Model =

init : ( Model, Cmd Msg )
init =
    ( "Hello", Cmd.none )
  • First we define our application model as a type alias, in this kind. Here it is just a String.
  • Then we define an init function. This function provides the initial input for the application.

Html.program expects a tuple with (model, command). The first element in this tuple is our initial state, e.g. "Hello". The second element is an initial command to run. More on this later.

When using the elm architecture, we compose all components models into a single state tree. More on this later too.


type Msg
    = NoOp

Messages are things that happen in our applications that our component responds to. In this case, the application doesn't do anything, so we only have a message called NoOp.

Other examples of messages could be Expand or Collapse to show and hide a widget. We use union types for messages:

type Msg
    = Expand
    | Collapse


view : Model -> Html Msg
view model =
    div []
        [ text model ]

The function view renders an Html element using our application model. Note that the type signature is Html Msg. This means that this Html element would produce messages tagged with Msg. We will see this when we introduce some interaction.


update : Msg -> Model -> ( Model, Cmd Msg )
update msg model =
    case msg of
        NoOp ->
            ( model, Cmd.none )

Next we define an update function, this function will be called by Html.program each time a message is received. This update function responds to messages updating the model and returning commands as needed.

In this example, we only respond to NoOp and return the unchanged model and Cmd.none (meaning no command to perform).


subscriptions : Model -> Sub Msg
subscriptions model =

We use subscriptions to listen for external input to our application. Some examples of subscriptions are:

  • Mouse movements
  • Keyboard events
  • Browser location changes

In this case, we are not interested in any external input so we use Sub.none.


main : Program Never Model Msg
main =
        { init = init
        , view = view
        , update = update
        , subscriptions = subscriptions

Finally Html.program wires everything together and returns an html element that we can render in the page. program takes our init, view, update and subscriptions.

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