Composition operator [was: Re: Records in Haskell]

Evan Laforge qdunkan at
Thu Jan 12 22:13:34 CET 2012

> But this is a more or less academic discussion, taking place on
> ghc-users, nominally out of view of the general Haskell community,
> right?  So I don't need to intrude with mundane objections of
> that nature.

True, true, there is that.

However, I think there's at least a little bit in the idea that we
could put this back into haskell to help with the record problem.

Otherwise I was going to say that further academic discussion can
inform future language design, but of course it occurs to me that
languages like agda already provide a living example of lots of
unicode.  So the discussion need not be academic, just write some agda
:)  After all, they've failed to take hold in haskell but history and
culture play a large role so it's not a level playing field.

And to add further to the academic discussion *ahem* :)  I tried a vim
script a while back that turned -> and :: and (.) and whatnot into
unicode versions.  I eventually decided that many of these require
variable width fonts to look nice, or maybe it's just that the common
fixed width fonts haven't payed much attention to those little-used
characters, but the result is that they turn into a lot of little
misshapen blobs.  => looks like a blobbier ->, etc.  For example, on
the mac 11 pt menlo, (.) is a nice solid 4 pixel square, while · is a
single pixel with some anti-aliasing fluff.  I'd have to crank up the
font size on everything else.  So I turned it off.  I mention it
because I haven't seen anyone else mention variable width as a
prerequisite for using unicode operators.

I enjoyed writing with variable width fonts on acme back in the day
but in the end I'm just too comfortable with vim keys and vim doesn't
like variable width.  Given infinite time I'd fix up yi for variable
width, improve its vi keys, get a really high DPI monitor, and give it
a shot.

Of course a significant part is that unfamiliar symbols haven't
engraved themselves into the instant pattern recognition part of the
brain so much, maybe after a year of using them exclusively they'd
look like perfectly clear little blobs.

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