workaround to get both domain-specific errors and also multi-modal type inference?
Richard Eisenberg
eir at cis.upenn.edu
Tue Feb 11 18:13:41 UTC 2014
One potential source of confusion in this thread:
When Adam initially suggested a function (Constraint -> Maybe String), I believe he was referring to constraints as they slosh around within GHC, *not* the kind-level Constraint available with ConstraintKinds. So, the error-reporting function would be written in a separate module from the code it affects, and it would be imported somewhat like Template Haskell does. Then, GHC could call the function when type inference fails. This would make programming the interface much easier and more expressive.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seemed that different people were talking about different solutions!
Richard
On Feb 11, 2014, at 11:10 AM, Nicolas Frisby <nicolas.frisby at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 3:55 AM, José Pedro Magalhães <jpm at cs.uu.nl> wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 3:32 AM, Nicolas Frisby <nicolas.frisby at gmail.com> wrote:
> > type family GHC.Exts.Message (c :: Constraint) :: Maybe Symbol
>
> While I do find this problem very relevant, and think this solution is going in the right direction,
> I'm afraid it's not that simple. Say I have
>
> type instance Message (MyClass a) = Just ...
>
> How will this behave if the unsatisfied constraint is of the form (C b, MyClass a)? How about
> f (MyClass a), for some f :: Constraint -> Constraint?
>
> Also, isn't it a bit unsatisfying that an instance such as
>
> type instance Message a = Just ...
>
> would pollute error messages everywhere?...
>
> Hi Pedro. Very glad you're joining in.
>
> Thank you for the helpful observations. I see two options.
>
> 1) Keep it simple at first. EG An unsatisfied conjunction is decompose into a list of its unsatisfied conjuncts before ab Message is ever sought. Similarly, only support matching the head of the unsatisfied constraint, so the Message pattern would have to match (F (MyClass a)), for whichever F is your `f'. And so on. Lastly, we might consider allowing type class-like overlap for instances of the Message family, since it's use-case is so specific.
>
> These limits each restrict the expressivity but deserve investigation regarding how much mileage we can get out of them.
>
> 2) Or we could design a type-level DSL for querying the "trace" of the constraint-solver that ended up with this unsatisfied constraint. This sounds much harder to me, since I'm unfamiliar with the solver and its internals. But it seems like the way to maximize expressitivity.
>
> -----
>
> I should point out that I think the courageous library designer could squeeze some of the functionality of (2) out of (1), at the cost of obfuscation. For example:
>
> > class Constraint a b where -- this is the actual class of interest
> >
> > data Trace = forall a b. Start a b | ...
> >
> > instance InternalConstraint (Start a b) a b => Constraint a b
> >
> > class InternalConstraint trace x y -- all instances are parametric wrt `trace'
> >
> > -- I'm assuming Message has range Maybe Doc, where GHC interprets Doc to build an error message.
> > type instance Message (InternalConstraint a b x y) =
> > Just ( Text "While solving Constraint for " <> ShowType a <> Text " and " <> ShowType b
> > <> Text " the point of failure was " <> ShowType x <> Text " and " <> ShowType y <> Text "."
> > )
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