Coding style: Using StandaloneKindSignatures in GHC

Baldur Blöndal baldurpet at
Tue May 18 17:58:18 UTC 2021

Discussion to permit use of StandaloneKindSignatures in the GHC coding
style guide. I believe it increases the clarity of the code,
especially as we move to fancier kinds.

It is the only way we have for giving full signatures to type
synonyms, type classes, type families and others. An example:

    type Cat :: Type -> Type
    type Cat ob = ob -> ob -> Type

    type  Category :: forall ob. Cat ob -> Constraint
    class Category cat where
      id :: cat a a ..

    type Proxy :: forall k. k -> Type
    data Proxy a = Proxy

    type Some :: forall k. (k -> Type) -> Type
    data Some f where
      Some :: f ex -> Some f

    -- | The regular function type
    type (->) :: forall {rep1 :: RuntimeRep} {rep2 :: RuntimeRep}.
TYPE1 rep1 -> TYPE rep2 -> Type
    type (->) = FUN 'Many

This is in line with function definitions that are always given a
top-level, standalone type signature (1) and not like we currently
define type families/synonyms (2) by annotating each argument or not
at all. Using -XStandaloneKindSignatures (3) matches (1)

    -- (1)
    curry :: ((a, b) -> c) -> (a -> b -> c)
    curry f  x y = f (x, y)

    -- (2)
    type Curry (f :: (a, b) -> c) (x :: a) (y :: b) =  f '(x, y) :: c

    -- (3)
    type Curry :: ((a, b) -> c) -> (a -> b -> c)
    type Curry f x y = f '(x, y)

It covers an edgecase that `KindSignatures` don't. The only way for
deriving to reference datatype arguments is if they are quantified by
the declaration head -- `newtype Bin a ..`. StandaloneKindSignatures
allows us to still provide a full signature. We could write `newtype
Bin a :: Type -> Type` without it but not `newtype Bin :: Type -> Type
-> Type`

    type    Bin :: Type -> Type -> Type
    newtype Bin a b = Bin (a -> a -> b)
      deriving (Functor, Applicative)
      via (->) a `Compose` (->) a

Let me know what you think

More information about the ghc-devs mailing list