[Haskell-cafe] reading existential types
mailing_list at istitutocolli.org
Tue Jul 10 05:28:03 EDT 2007
On Mon, Jul 09, 2007 at 09:41:32PM +0100, Claus Reinke wrote:
> i'm not sure i understand the problem correctly, but note that the branches
> in 'readMT' have identical implementations, the only difficulty is
> them at different hidden types, so that they try the appropriate 'Read'
> instances for those types. there's no need for different parsers beyond the
> 'Read' instances for every possible type.
This is now clear.
> hiding concrete types in existentials sometimes only defers problems
> instead of solving them, but exposing class interfaces instead of types is a
> useful way to mitigate that effect. it just so happens that this particular
> problem, reading an existential type, slightly exceeds that pattern, as
> 'read' needs to know the hidden type to do its job ('read' does not
> determine the type from the input form, but uses the type to determine what
> form.the input should have).
That's exactly what I had in mind. But I ignored the specific problem
of reading: "'read' uses the type", and the type is hidden..
> a workaround is to try to read all possible types, then hide the type again
> once a match is found. the main disadvantage of this method is that we need
> a list of all the types that could possibly be hidden
> in 'MyType' (or at least a list of all the types that we expect to
> find hidden in 'MyType' when we read it).
> we can, however, abstract out that list of types, and write a general
> type-level recursion to try reading every type in such a list:
> class ReadAsAnyOf ts ex -- read an existential as any of hidden types ts
> where readAsAnyOf :: ts -> ReadPrec ex
> -- a list of hidden types
> hidden = undefined :: (TipoA,(TipoB,()))
> readMT :: ReadPrec MyType
> readMT = prec 10 $ do
> Ident "MT" <- lexP
> parens $ readAsAnyOf hidden -- r T1a `mplus` r T1b
This is a nice work around indeed and could be suitable for my
Thank you very much: this thread perfectly clarified the issue I was
facing. Most kind of you.
BTW, I have the feeling that existential types should be used with
extreme care since they open up great possibilities of really hidden
bugs: in other word, it seems to me they could be use to just trick
the type checker. Sort of scary. Am I right?
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