RIDDL Documentation
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The RIDDL language allows users to define types of data, or information. RIDDL’s type system is fairly rich, for a specification language, providing abstractions for many concretely common information structures. This is done to make it easier for domain engineers and experts to understand the models they are creating.

A type defines the shape of some information. There are many kinds of type definitions allowed, so we have grouped them into categories:

Predefined Types

RIDDL supports several predefined types that just “exist” because they are:

  • applicable to nearly all fields of study or knowledge domains
  • fundamental in nature, covering the SI base units
  • fundamental in business, covering basic financial quantities such as currency
  • easily represented in any computing environment

RIDDL inherently knows about these predefined types so to use them you just use their name, no further definition is required. Here are the simple predefined types:

Simple Predefined Types

Name Description
Abstract An unspecified, arbitrary type, compatible with any other type
Nothing A type that cannot hold any value, commonly used as a placeholder
Boolean A Boolean value, with values true or false
Current An SI unit of electric current, measured in Amperes
Date A date value comprising a day, month and year
DateTime A combination of Date and Time
Duration An amount of time, measured in SI units of seconds
Length An SI unit of distance measured in meters
Luminosity An SI unit of luminous intensity, measured in candelas
Mass An SI unit of mass measured in kilograms
Mole An SI unit of an amount of substance, measured in mol
Number An arbitrary number, integer, decimal or floating point
String A sequence of Unicode characters
Temperature An SI unit of thermodynamic temperature, measured in Kelvin
Time A time value comprising an hour, minute, second and millisecond
TimeStamp A fixed point in time
UUID A randomly unique identifier with low likeliness of collision

Parameterized Predefined Types

Some predefined types take parameters to customize their content, we call these parameterized predefined types.

Name Parameters Description
String (min,max, enc) A String, as above, of a specific length range and encoding.
Id (entity) A unique identifier for a kind of entity given by entity
URL (scheme) A URL for a specific URL scheme (e.g. http)
Range (min,max) A integer from min to max
LatLong (lat, long) A location based on latitude and longitude
Currency (country-code) The currency of a nation using ISO 3166 country codes
Pattern (regex) A string value that conforms to a regular expression, regex


Compound types add structure around the predefined types and require further definition in RIDDL.


An enumeration defines a type that may take the value of one identifier from a closed set of constant identifiers using the any keyword and the set of identifiers enclosed in square brackets, like this:

type Color = any of [Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet]


A type can be defined as any one type chosen from a set of other type names using the select keyword followed by type names separated by |, like this:

type References = select String | URL

There must be at least two types in an alternation.


A type can be defined as an aggregate of a group of values of types. DDD calls this a “value object”. Aggregations can be nested, even recursively. Each value in the aggregation has an identifier (name) and a type separated by a colon. For example, here is the type definition for a rectangle located on a Cartesian coordinate system at point (x,y) with a given height and width:

type Rectangle = { x: Number, y: Number, height: Number, width: Number }

Key/Value Mapping

A type can be defined as a mapping from one type (the key) to another type (the value). For example, here is a dictionary definition that maps a word (lower case letters) to a type named DictionaryEntry that presumably contains all the things one would find in a dictionary entry.

type dictionary = mapping from Pattern("[a-z]+") to DictionaryEntry


An aggregate type (value object in DDD) can be declared to be one of four kinds of message types using the command, event, query, and result keywords. These type definitions are useful for sending messages to entities or across pipes.

For example, here is a command definition:

type JustDoIt = command { id: Id(AnEntity), encouragement: String, swoosh: URL }


You can use a cardinality suffix or prefix with any of the type expressions defined above to transform that type expression into the element type of a collection.


The suffixes allowed are adopted from regular expression syntax with the following meanings:

Suffix Meaning
Required: exactly 1 instance of the preceding type
? Optional: either 0 or 1 instances of the preceding type
* Zero or more instances of the preceding type
+ One or more instances of the preceding type
... One or more instances of the preceding type
...? Zero or more instances of the preceding type

Note the empty first item in the table; without the suffix, the cardinality of a type expression is “required” (exactly one). For example, in this:

type MyType = { ids: Id+, name: String? }

the MyType type is an aggregate that contains one or more Id values in the ids field and an optional string value in name


The prefixes allowed have a similar meaning to the suffixes:

Prefix Meaning
required Required: exactly 1 instance of the following type
optional Optional: either 0 or 1 instances of the following type
many Zero or more instances of the following type
many required One or more instances of the following type

Occurs In

All Vital Definitions


  • Fields (in aggregations only)