[Haskell-cafe] Re: Comments from OCaml Hacker Brian Hurt

Andrew Coppin andrewcoppin at btinternet.com
Sun Jan 18 06:19:24 EST 2009

Ertugrul Soeylemez wrote:
> Andrew Coppin <andrewcoppin at btinternet.com> wrote:
>> I would suggest that ExistentiallyQuantifiedTypeVariables would be an
>> improvement [...]
> That must be a joke.  Typing the long extension names in LANGUAGE
> pragmas over and over again is tiring and annoying enough already.  We
> really don't need even longer names, and your "improvement" fills up
> almost half of the width of an 80 characters terminal.

Which is why I personally prefer HiddenTypeVariables. (This has the 
advantage of using only pronouncible English words, which means you can 
use it when speaking out loud.)

But, as I say, nobody is going to rename anything, so it's moot.

> I can't await the next Haskell standard, where at last all those
> extensions are builtin.

This frightens me.

At the moment, I understand how Haskell 98 works. There are lots of 
extensions out there, but I don't have to care about that because I 
don't use them. If I read somebody else's code and it contains a 
LANGUAGE pragma, I can immediately tell that the code won't be 
comprehendable, so I don't need to waste time trying to read it. But 
once Haskell' becomes standard, none of this holds any more. Haskell' 
code will use obscure lanuage features without warning, and unless I 
somehow learn every extension in the set, I'll never be able to read 
Haskell again! (One presumes that they won't add any extensions which 
actually *break* backwards compatibility, so hopefully I can still 
pretend these troublesome extensions don't exist when writing my own 

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