instance {Semigroup, Monoid} (Bag a) ?

Alfredo Di Napoli alfredo.dinapoli at
Thu Apr 15 06:30:30 UTC 2021

Good morning all,

I have now split Richard's commit in two, so that it's explicit in the
commit history that we are adding those instances:

*Ben*: I have briefly tried to add the Hlint annotations, but it turned out
to be trickier than anticipated. I couldn't find any easy way in HLint to
add a custom hint on a *typeclass instance*, and adding something like this
into `compiler/.hlint.yaml` didn't change anything:

- modules:
  - {name: GHC.Data.Bag, badidents: [mempty], message: "Use emptyBag as
it's more descriptive"}
  - {name: GHC.Data.Bag, badidents: [(<>)], message: "Use unionBags as it's
more descriptive"}

(I suspect that's not what's the badidents syntax is for). I have also
tried to add two `ANN` to the definitions, like this:

{-# ANN (<>) ("HLint: use unionBags as it's more descriptive" :: String) #-}
instance Semigroup (Bag a) where
  (<>) = unionBags

However, this won't work as (<>) is imported qualified and there is no way
in the ANN syntax to specify a fully qualified identifier. However, I
suspect this is not the correct syntax either, as `(<>)` is really the
*typeclass* method, but we want to target the particular instance

*Having said that*, Richard carefully defined `(<>) = unionBags` and
`mempty = emptyBag`, so I agree that using `(<>)` and `mempty` would be
more opaque but at the end of the day it should have the asymptotic
complexity than using `unionBags` and `emptyBag` (modulo dictionary
passing, but I hope that won't each our lunch).


On Thu, 15 Apr 2021 at 02:20, Ben Gamari <ben at> wrote:

> Richard Eisenberg <rae at> writes:
> > Hi devs,
> >
> > In the work on simplifying the error-message infrastructure (heavy
> lifting by Alfredo, in cc), I've been tempted (twice!) to add
> >
> >> instance Semigroup (Bag a) where
> >>   (<>) = unionBags
> >>
> >> instance Monoid (Bag a) where
> >>   mempty = emptyBag
> >
> > to GHC.Data.Bag.
> >
> > The downside to writing these is that users might be tempted to write
> > e.g. mempty instead of emptyBag, while the latter gives more
> > information to readers and induces less manual type inference (to a
> > human reader). The upside is that it means Bags work well with
> > Monoid-oriented functions, like foldMap.
> >
> > I favor adding them, and slipped them into !5509 (a big commit with
> > lots of other stuff). Alfredo rightly wondered whether this decision
> > deserved more scrutiny, and so I'm asking the question here.
> >
> My sense is that adding the instances is a Good Thing. However, I do
> think that we probably ought to refrain from using (<>) and mempty where
> more specific functions would do. Adding a lint would be one way to
> accomplish this. Hiding the functions from GhcPrelude would be another.
> Cheers,
> - Ben
> _______________________________________________
> ghc-devs mailing list
> ghc-devs at
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the ghc-devs mailing list