[Haskell-cafe] history of tuples vs pairs

Conal Elliott conal at conal.net
Wed Jun 25 10:50:59 EDT 2008

I have a foggy memory that early ML had only binary pairing, nesting for
n-tuples.  Can anyone confirm this memory.  If so, does anyone remember the
rationale for going to n-tuples?  Performance, perhaps?

Similarly, did the Haskell designers consider pairs as an alternative to
n-ary tuples?

The reason I ask is that while ghc and libraries suppors n-tuples for some
values of n, the support is generally incomplete and inconsistent.  And some
abstractions are very heavily biased toward pairing, particularly Arrow and
the pair instances of Monad and Applicative.  And of course, inclusion of
fst and snd in the prelude but lack of similar standard functions for
n-tuples with n>2.

  - Conal
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