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Define valid, hierarchical immutable state models with an expressive API for updating state data and transitioning between states.

immutable_model #

Build Status pub package License: MIT style: effective dart

This package lets you define valid, immutable state models in a succinct way (with no code generation) that are interoperable between commonly used state management systems and that support serialization to and from JSON out of the box.

Fully implemented examples using this package with the BLoC (and Cubits) and Redux frameworks can found in the example folder.

This package supports int's, double's, bool's, String's, DateTime's, lists, enums and maps, each having their own ModelType representation (e.g. ModelInt, ModelString, ModelList<T>, ModelEnum<E> etc.).

Maps are represented with the ModelInner class which defines a map between field label Strings and other ModelType models. A ModelInner is generally used for hierarchical nesting in a ImmutableModel (hence "inner").

Every ModelType can be passed a validator which is run when it is updated. If the update is invalid, the instance is returned without the update applied.

This package provides some commonly used ValueType classes too (and a way to declare your own). A ValueType is defined as a ModelType that wraps it's own validator. Currently only ModelEmail and ModelPassword for email and password Strings are provided, but more can be added.

Under the hood, the immutable list and map data structures are built using built_collection.

All ModelType's extend Equatable for value equality based on the model's current value.

Finally, this package provides the main ImmutableModel<S> class used to define state models. See the examples below.

Overview #

The main goal behind this package was to provide a way to write a provably safe domain layer, which is achieved in two ways:

First, state models defined using ImmutableModel can never be in an invalid state (hold invalid data), if they are written correctly. This applies to all ModelType's too.

If an attempt is made to update a state model with invalid data, the instance will be returned without the update applied. When an invalid update occurs an exception is logged instead of being throw, in keeping with the idea of never being in an invalid state. These logs can be accessed dynamically using the dart logging package.

Second, domain level logic or functions can use or be parameterized with the valid types from this library. The data these valid types hold must be valid or the instance cannot exist.

For example, a simple authentication state model could be written as follows:

final authStateModel = ImmutableModel(
    "email": ''),
    "password": M.password(),

(note: and M.password are shorthands for the ModelEmail and ModelPassword classes)

A domain level signIn function could then be defined as:

signIn(ModelEmail email, ModelPassword password) {
  if(authUser(email.asSerializable(), password.asSerializable())){
      "email": email,
      "password": password

Where authUser is a data layer function, with the following signature:

bool authUser(String email, String password)

By parameterizing the signIn function with the ModelEmail and ModelPassword types, you can write the necessary logic without needing to worry about the validity of the data passed in. Code that calls the function (from the UI, for example) is forced to comply and instantiate the types before calling the function, which is only possible with valid data. It also clarifies

If instead the function was defined as signIn(String email, String password), each string would need to be validated inside the function and then react accordingly if they weren't. Even if you trust the values that are passed in, it is still possible that the values could be invalid.

This works with the data layer too. If the repository pattern is used, a ModelType or an ImmutableModel can be specified as the return type of the data functions, meaning the returned data would have to be valid.

This lets you write an authoritative domain layer. One that forces the correct implementation from the UI and data layers.

Using ImmutableModel #

Note: this is not an exhaustive overview of the API, please see the API docs for that.

After defining a state model:

final aModelWithAnInner = ImmutableModel(
    "some_int": M.nt(initialValue: 0),
    "some_string": M.str(initialValue: "Hello"),
    "the_inner": M.inner({
      "another_string": M.str(initialValue: "World"),

The values can be accessed as follows:

aModelWithAnInner["some_string"]; // "Hello"
aModelWithAnInner["the_inner"]["another_string"]; // "World"

(Note: normally when using the [] notation the model's .value is returned, except when a ModelInner is specified. Instead the ModelInner instance will be returned, not it's .value. The .get() method can be used to always get the model .value)

Updates use a map between field label Strings and values or functions:

  "some_int": (n) => ++n,
  "the_inner": {
    "another_string": "New World".
aModelWithAnInner["some_int"]; // 1
aModelWithAnInner["the_inner"]["another_string"];  // New World

As shown in the above signIn function, ModelType models can also be used in the update map (see the Theory section for an explanation).

Using ModelSelector #

A ModelSelector<V> can be defined and used with an ImmutableModel (or ModelInner) to update or access a ModelType or its value.

A ModelSelector is defined using a "selector string" which uses a '.' for accessing nested models.

The following selectors can be defined:

const someStringSel = ModelSelector<String>("some_string");
const anotherStringSel = ModelSelector<String>("the_inner.another_string");

And used to select values:; // "Hello"; // "World"

And to update values:

aModelWithAnInner.updateWithSelector(someStringSel, "New Hello");
aModelWithAnInner.updateWithSelector(anotherStringSel, "New World");

ImmutableModel strict updates #

A strict update property can be enabled for a ImmutableModel (or a ModelInner) which will make any update to it require all fields defined in it.

For example, if the authStateModel was defined as:

final authStateModel = ImmutableModel(
    "email": ''),
    "password": M.password(),
  strictUpdates: true,

Then calling:

  "email": email,

Would fail but calling:

  "email": email,
  "password": password


This is useful when you need to model something more ephemeral like when you need to display information gotten from a REST API call and you require all the data specified by the model.

ImmutableModel's can be reset #

The models held by ImmutableModel can be reset by calling:


Which will reset all ModelType instances held by it, or


Which will reset all instances specified by the list of field labels.

In general, any ModelType can be reset by accessing its initial property.

ImmutableModel's wrap a state #

An ImmutableModel<S> is generic over some state S, for example:

abstract class AuthState {
  const AuthState();

class AuthInitial extends AuthState {
  const AuthInitial();

class AuthSuccess extends AuthState {
  const AuthSuccess();

final authStateModel = ImmutableModel<AuthState>(
    "email": ''),
    "password": M.password(),
  initialState: const AuthInitial(),

This can be used in the UI to check what state the model is in and react to changes in it by accessing the currentState property, for example:

if(authStateModel.currentState is AuthSuccess){...}

States can be transitioned to by calling:

authStateModel.transitionTo(const AuthSuccess());


authStateModel.transitionToAndUpdate(const AuthSuccess(), {...});

which includes an update with a transition.

There's also:

authStateModel.updateIfIn({...}, const AuthSuccess());

Which will only update the state model if it's in the state specified.

Declaring your own ModelType or ValueType #

You can easily define your own ModelType by extending the ModelValue class.

The buildNext method must be overridden which must call an internal constructor (normally called _next) that takes a previous instance of the sub-class and must in turn call super.constructNext.

If you want to create a value type which, as stated before, is a class that wraps its own validator, you must additionally use the ValueType mixin.

For example:

class CityName extends ModelValue<CityName, String> with ValueType {
  // checks if every word is capitalized
  static final validator = (String str) => (str).split(" ").every((w) => w[0] == w[0].toUpperCase());
  static const label = "city_name";

  CityName([String defaultCityName]) : super.text(defaultCityName.trim(), validator, label);

  CityName._next(CityName previous, String value) : super.constructNext(previous, value.trim());

  CityName buildNext(String nextValue) => CityName._next(this, nextValue);

This type can now be used in an ImmutableModel and to parameterize functions.

See Value Types for more examples.

Theory #

It is helpful to understand a couple of concepts before using this library.

Every instance of a an ImmutableModel (or any ModelType used inside of it or otherwise) should be considered to be a node in a DAG. Every valid update of it leads to a progression in this graph, as a new instance is always returned

The first (or initial) instance is important as it is used to define an Equality Of History between two models.

If a model "shares a history" with another, it implies that the models are equally valid, because every progression from the first instance must have been a valid one thus if they both come from the same initial instance, they must both be equally valid.

Even if two models are equal in terms of value, they may not share a history together.

If two model instances (A and B) do share a history, the one can be updated with the other, which will in effect just return the one used to update it. For example A.update(B) will just return B.

However, things are slightly different for value type Models (such a ModelEmail or ModelPassword) because value types wrap their own validation (or they're supposed to), meaning any instance of some value type will be equally valid to any other instance of it, regardless of whether they share a history or not.

If you have two instances A and B of some value type and you call A.update(B) a new instance C will be returned with B's value but with A's initial instance (in a similar vain to merging B into A).

The reason this is done is slightly esoteric but if you look at authStateModel from above and the signIn function, the ModelEmail and ModelPassword instances passed to the signIn function do not share a history with the instances in the authStateModel but, of course, are valid and thus can be used to update the values in the authStateModel. If the models were simply replaced, one wouldn't be able to reset values correctly. For example, the defaultEmail originally defined for the "email" field would be lost.

Supported Types #

These are all the ModelTypes defined in this package:


  • ModelBool
  • ModelInt
  • ModelDouble
  • ModelString
  • ModelText: a non-empty String
  • ModelDateTime


  • ModelList<bool>
  • ModelList<int>
  • ModelList<double>
  • ModelList<String>
  • ModelList<DateTime>
  • ModelList<Map<String, dynamic>: Called a "Model Validated List" because each Map item is validated against a ModelInner


  • ModelEnum<E>: E is the enum type


  • ModelInner: Map between field label Strings and other ModelType models.
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Define valid, hierarchical immutable state models with an expressive API for updating state data and transitioning between states.

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