[RFC] Qualified module renamings

Edward Z Yang ezyang at mit.edu
Thu Feb 25 16:13:54 UTC 2021

Today, using the 'mixins' field you can rename modules that come from other packages by manually expressing a renaming one-by-one. In some Backpack use cases, you may have a lot of modules that you would like to mechanically rename into some subnamespace; today, you have manually list each renaming one by one.

https://github.com/haskell/cabal/pull/7303 contains an implementation of one possible way to extend mixin syntax to support qualified renaming; the implementation is very simple. The syntax here is based off of Richard Eisenberg's local modules proposal (https://github.com/ghc-proposals/ghc-proposals/pull/283) which supports the qualified keyword before module exports/imports which has the same effect (bring the module into scope under a sub-module namespace). However, the PR isn't really meant to be an end all to the discussion: it's just to show that it's pretty simple to implement this functionality.

There are two primary axes which I am looking for feedback:

* Expressivity. The current PoC implementation only permits unconditionally prefix-ing all modules that would have been brought into scope by the mixin; e.g., transforming module A to Prefix.A. Edward Kmett has expressed that in some cases, he would like it if you could implement the import as a suffix. One could also imagine allowing arbitrary string transformations. Opinions on where to draw the line for expressivity are solicited.

* Syntax. The current syntax is "pkgname qualified Prefix" as it is symmetric with "pkgname hiding (A, B)" and it was simple to implement. But I am not particularly attached to this syntax, and am open to other suggestions. If we permit suffixing, a wildcard based syntax like "pkgname (* as *.Suffix)" may be preferable (though modestly more complex to specify and implement; for example, is the glob recursive over dots?). Edward Kmett has offered some other possibilities at https://github.com/haskell/cabal/issues/7290#issue-812744575?

Thanks Oleg for reminding me to send this RFC to this mailing list.


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