[ghc-steering-committee] a plea against ScopedTypeVariables
eric at seidel.io
Fri Dec 4 17:02:43 UTC 2020
I've found ScopedTypeVariables to frequently be useful in simple term-level programming as well. It's a fairly common pattern to have some constants associated with a class, which you then access with the combination of ScopedTypeVariables and TypeApplications.
On Fri, Dec 4, 2020, at 11:05, Iavor Diatchki wrote:
> I do think that ScopedTypeVariables are useful, but not so much unless
> you are doing fancy type level programming (e.g., GADTs, type families,
> etc). It is quite easy to do a lot of Haskell without them, so I'd be
> fine without them in the standard.
> On Fri, Dec 4, 2020 at 5:27 AM Alejandro Serrano Mena <trupill at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I'll reiterate my main point: ScopedTypeVariables is a very useful extension, and one which a lot of people would like to see in the default set. I would be happy to see it removed in a next iteration of the GHC20XX if a better story comes along, but even if we nail the design now, we would need to wait a few years for it to stabilize before inclusion. In the meanwhile, everybody would be wondering why ScopedTypeVariable is not the default.
> > El vie, 4 dic 2020 a las 14:00, Spiwack, Arnaud (<arnaud.spiwack at tweag.io>) escribió:
> >> I'm still undecided about ScopedTypeVariables (my vote says: maybe), because there are a number of discussions about changing this or that part of the semantics.
> >> That being said: I always turn ScopedTypeVariables on. I'd _love_ for it to be the default. The syntax is quirky, but I don't mind adding explicit `forall`-s. Type signatures on patterns, I don't care much about: I use them rarely. But the ability to bind a variable from the type signature inside the term, this is a very essential feature. I'd be just as happy with `\@a`, though.
> >> I'm very much on the fence here. Though, this is just the first time around for GHCXXXX, we can afford to be more conservative than on the next rounds. So given that there are doubts around this extension, maybe it's best to leave it out. And have a more ernest discussion for the second round.
> >> On Fri, Dec 4, 2020 at 9:47 AM Simon Marlow <marlowsd at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>> That is an infelicity, I agree. However, ScopedTypeVariables fills a massive hole in Haskell, namely the inability to give a type signature to a local function when the type involves type variables bound by an outer scope. It feels like a shame to leave that hole unfilled in GHC2021, yet I understand the concerns.
> >>> Cheers
> >>> Simon
> >>> On Thu, 3 Dec 2020 at 16:48, Richard Eisenberg <rae at richarde.dev> wrote:
> >>>> Hi all,
> >>>> I'd like to make a small plea against ScopedTypeVariables.
> >>>> * First off, I love (most of) ScopedTypeVariables, and enable it liberally. It is a safe extension.
> >>>> * But I very much dislike the way it brings variables into scope from `forall`s. When I write
> >>>> > f :: forall a. a -> a
> >>>> > f x = (x :: a)
> >>>> I find it very odd that `a` is brought into scope in the body of f. Compare to
> >>>> > f :: (forall a. a -> a)
> >>>> > f x = (x :: a)
> >>>> where I have added parentheses to the type of f. Now `a` is not in scope in the body of f. That's bizarre.
> >>>> * Note that type signatures and function definitions can be arbitrarily separated in a file. Some programmers indeed prefer to do this, so that type signatures can all be in one place, forming an interface to the file. (I've even seen header files, included via CPP!) I'm not necessarily advocating for that style, but I can't quite say it's absurd. Our ML friends do this reflexively.
> >>>> * I'm hoping ScopedTypeVariables will lose this feature in the future. I've been meaning to propose such for some time. See https://github.com/ghc-proposals/ghc-proposals/pull/238#issuecomment-499572523, which re-slices this cake.
> >>>> Thus, given the potential for change in the future, and some drawbacks of the extension as it currently stands, I think we should not enable it by default, making change harder in the future.
> >>>> Thanks,
> >>>> Richard
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