We say a variable is immutable if, once it has been assigned a value, you cannot change its content. After function purity, this is the second most important thing about functional programming.

In some academic languages such as Haskell, you cannot declare variables at all. Everything has to be a function. Since all those functions are also pure, this means you have immutability for free. Some of these languages offers some kind of syntactic sugar that resembles variable declaration to avoid the potential tediousness of always declaring functions.

Most functional languages let you only declare immutable variables or constructs that serves the same purpose. This means you have a way of storing values but it is impossible to change the ...

Get Functional PHP now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.