Associated type instances
Simon Peyton Jones
simonpj at microsoft.com
Tue Jun 24 08:07:02 UTC 2014
I'm not sure when this "feature" was added, but I'm pretty sure that my original implementation of associated types was exactly what you describe in the solution. Or did I miss anything?
I think you are right. I think I added the new stuff in a fit of enthusiasm one day, a fit that I am now regretting! But I'm just checking that no one has meanwhile become addicted to it.
Simon
From: Manuel Chakravarty [mailto:mchakravarty at me.com]
Sent: 24 June 2014 08:54
To: Simon Peyton Jones
Cc: GHC List; ghc-devs at haskell.org
Subject: Re: Associated type instances
Simon,
I'm not sure when this "feature" was added, but I'm pretty sure that my original implementation of associated types was exactly what you describe in the solution. Or did I miss anything?
Manuel
Simon Peyton Jones <simonpj at microsoft.com<mailto:simonpj at microsoft.com>>:
Friends
I want to make withdraw (or, rather, simplify) a little-known feature in GHC, but before I do so I want to check that no one is going to have a heart attack.
Relevant bits of the user manual: http://www.haskell.org/ghc/docs/latest/html/users_guide/type-families.html#assoc-decl
All of this arose when thinking about fixing Trac #9063.
I believe that this change will affect essentially nobody, and I propose to implement forthwith in HEAD (and hence 7.10).
Does anyone object?
Thanks
Simon
The issue
Consider this:
class C a where
type T a b :: *
instance C [x] where
type T [x] b = x -> b
That is just what you'd expect. But currently this is allowed too:
instance C [x] where
type T [x] Int = x -> Int
type T [x] Bool = Bool -> x
That is, GHC 7.8 allows many associated type instances, provided they don't overlap. But, oddly you can't further instantiate the instance pattern. This would make just as much sense, but isn't allowed:
instance C [x] where
type T [Int] b = b -> Int
type T [Bool] b = Bool -> b
Moreover, as the user manual says, for an open kind like *, none of this really makes sense. It really only makes sense for a closed kind. Something like
class D a where
type S (b :: Bool) a :: *
Now this would make some kind of sense:
instance D [x] where
type S True [x] = x -> x
type S False [x] = x
But for closed kinds, you really want a closed type family. So this would be better:
instance D [x] where
type S b [x] = SHelp x b
type family SHelp x b where
SHelp x True = x -> x
SHelp x False = x
So yes, you do have to declare a named helper type, but you get something much more perspicuous and explicit in exchange.
All of this also applies to the default declaration(s) which you can supply for an associated type (see 7.7.3.2 in the link above), only it's a bit more complicated and indirect.
My solution
I propose to simplify substantially, as follows:
* The "shared arguments" of an associated type are the argument positions that mention a type variable from the class header. So in class C above, the first argument position of T is "shared"; and in class D, the second argument position of S is shared.
* A instance for an associated type (in a class instance declaration) cf 7.7.3.1 must have
o type variables in the non-shared argument positions, and
o an exact copy of the corresponding instance header type in the shared positions
* For each associated type you can have
o at most one default declaration in the class declaration
o at most one type instance declaration in the class instance declaration
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