How Salsa works

Video available

To get the most complete introduction to Salsa's inner works, check out the "How Salsa Works" video. If you'd like a deeper dive, the "Salsa in more depth" video digs into the details of the incremental algorithm.

Key idea

The key idea of salsa is that you define your program as a set of queries. Every query is used like function K -> V that maps from some key of type K to a value of type V. Queries come in two basic varieties:

  • Inputs: the base inputs to your system. You can change these whenever you like.
  • Functions: pure functions (no side effects) that transform your inputs into other values. The results of queries is memoized to avoid recomputing them a lot. When you make changes to the inputs, we'll figure out (fairly intelligently) when we can re-use these memoized values and when we have to recompute them.

How to use Salsa in three easy steps

Using salsa is as easy as 1, 2, 3...

  1. Define one or more query groups that contain the inputs and queries you will need. We'll start with one such group, but later on you can use more than one to break up your system into components (or spread your code across crates).
  2. Define the query functions where appropriate.
  3. Define the database, which contains the storage for all the inputs/queries you will be using. The query struct will contain the storage for all of the inputs/queries and may also contain anything else that your code needs (e.g., configuration data).

To see an example of this in action, check out the hello_world example, which has a number of comments explaining how things work.

Digging into the plumbing

Check out the plumbing chapter to see a deeper explanation of the code that salsa generates and how it connects to the salsa library.