DAML Fundamentals: Supported Data Types

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DAML is a powerful open sourced language crceated to write distributed applications quickly, concisely and correctly.
It is functional and designed to support distributed business workflow thereby helping a developer to focus more on programming business processes by cutting down the amount of time he would spend on dealing with encryption and blockchain.

With the help of previous blogs, Build Powerful Smart Contracts and Getting started with building Templates , we can understand the benefits of using DAML to build smart contracts and get a kick start tutorial to build templates using it.

In this blog, we will walk through the different data types supported by DAML and how can we achieve rich data schemas for our ledger using them.

Native Types

We already know few data types from the previous blogs, eg, Party, Text. The other supported data types in DAML are as follows:

Native Data Type DescriptionExample
TextStores a unicode characternative_text = scenario do

alice <- getParty “Alice”
bob <- getParty “Bob”

my_text = “Alice”

assert (my_text == “Alice”)
ContractIdStores a reference to a contractContractId Alice Stores a reference to a contract of type Alice.
IntStores signed 64-bit integersnative_types = scenario do

alice <- getParty “Alice”
bob <- getParty “Bob”

my_int = -123

assert (-my_int == 123)
DecimalStores fixed-point number with 28 digits before and 10 digits after the decimal point.native_types = scenario do

alice <- getParty “Alice” bob <- getParty “Bob” 
let my_dec = 0.001 : Decimal
assert (1000.0 * my_dec == 1.0)
BoolStores True or Falsenative_types = scenario do

alice <- getParty “Alice” bob <- getParty “Bob” 
let my_bool = False

assert(not my_bool)
DateStores a dateimport DA.Date

native_types = scenario do

alice <- getParty “Alice” bob <- getParty “Bob” 
let my_date = date 2020 Jan 01
assert (addDays my_date 1 == date 2020 Jan 02)
TimeStores absolute UTC timeimport DA.Timeimport DA.Date

native_types = scenario do

alice <- getParty “Alice” bob <- getParty “Bob” 
my_date = date 2020 Jan 01my_time = time my_date 00 00 00
RelTimeStores a difference in timeimport DA.Timeimport DA.Date

native_types = scenario do

alice <- getParty “Alice” bob <- getParty “Bob” 
my_date = date 2020 Jan 01my_time = time my_date 00 00 00
my_rel_time = hours 24

assert (addRelTime my_time my_rel_time == time (addDays my_date 1) 00 00 00)

Assembling Types

DAML’s type system provides us number of ways to assemble these native types into much more expressive structures.


In DAML, you can group values in a generic way. For example, A key-value pair with a Text key and an Int value can be represented as a two-tuple of type (Text, Int)

import DA.Tuple
tuple_test = scenario do
key_value = ("Employee_A", 1)

assert (fst my_key_value == "Employee_A")
assert (snd my_key_value == 1)
assert (my_key_value._1 == "Employee_A")
assert (my_key_value._2 == 1)


DAML is a static and strongly typed language, thus it only supports creating a list with a single type parameter.

import DA.List
list_test = scenario do
emp_list = [1,2,3]

assert (head emp_list == 1)


Records are named tuples with named fields. They are declared as,

data T = C 
here, T is the type name and C is the data constructor

For example,

data Coordinate = Coordinate with
x, y, z : Decimal

record_test = scenario do
my_coord = Coordinate with
x = 1.0
y = 2.0
z = 3.0
assert (my_coord.x == 1.0)

Manipulating Data

All data in DAML is immutable, meaning once a value is created, it will never change. But, you create new values based on old ones with the changes needed. For instance,

manipulation_records = scenario do
old_record = Record with
my_txt = "Old Record"
my_int = 2

-- new record
new_record = old_record with
my_int = 3

assert (old_record.my_int == 2)
assert (new_record == old_record)

Here, new_record is a copy of old_record with the field my_int changed.

Contract Keys

In DAML, contract models often have multiple templates that reference each other. For example, we may want to store user’s bank and account information on separate contracts and not an individual cash balance contract with both account and bank information.
Just like data, contracts are also immutable in DAML and can only be created and archived.

The below example shows a contract model where Account is split out into a separate template and referenced by ContractId.

data Bank = Bank with
party : Party
address: Text
telephone : Text
deriving (Eq, Show)

template Account
accountant : Party
owner : Party
number : Text
bank : Bank
signatory accountant

data Cash = Cash with
currency : Text
amount : Decimal
deriving (Eq, Show)

template CashBalance
accountant : Party
cash : Cash
account : ContractId Account
signatory accountant

You are now all set to define data schemas for the ledger and create richer smart contracts!


Written by 

Himani is a Software Consultant, having experience of more than 2.5 years. She is very dedicated, hardworking and focussed. She is Familiar with C#, C++, C , PHP, Scala and Java and has interest in Functional programming. She is very helpful and loves to share her knowledge. Her hobbies include reading books and cooking.