[Haskell-cafe] Contravariant applicatives, monads and arrows (was ANN: rematch, an library for composable assertions with human readable failure messages)

Jake McArthur jake.mcarthur at gmail.com
Tue Apr 16 22:52:44 CEST 2013

The type looks similar to the denotation for sets, but implementing a
covariant interface for it would not be straightforward and may also be
On Apr 16, 2013 11:17 AM, "Alejandro Serrano Mena" <trupill at gmail.com>

> Hi,
> First of all, let me say that this work on matchers is really useful :)
> Following Roman advice, I'm trying to find a more principled approach
> that could be useful for this library. It seems that "Match" could
> easily be converted to Either and thus made into Functor, Applicative,
> Alternative and Monad. That would allow to write things like:
> User <$> runMatch (isNot isEmpty) name <*> runMatch (hasItem (is '@'))
> email
> However, I'm also thinking about the correct way to "combine" matchers
> to get bigger matchers. Basically, if I have matchers on every field
> of a record, can I get a matcher for the entire one?
> My first idea was to make Matcher a functor. However, what I come was
> a contravariant functor: given (a -> b) and Matcher b, I can easily
> construct a Matcher a by running the one in b over this function. So
> we have:
> contramap :: (a -> b) -> Matcher b -> Matcher a
> My first question is: is there any structure similar to applicative
> functors or monads which work on these kind of contravariant functors?
> This also brought into my mind to see Matcher a just as functions a ->
> Match and derive its properties from there. This may give better
> results that the above mentioned idea of looking it as a -> Either
> String a, because in this latter case we have a in covariant and
> contravariant positions and it's difficult to get anything.
> On the other hand, it seems very easy, from a Matcher a and a Matcher
> b, to get a Matcher (a,b). This reminds me a bit about arrows, but
> without output parameters. Does it make sense? I've always been
> reluctant to arrows because I don't fully understand them, but maybe
> this is a good moment to learn.
> Do any of this make sense? I would really like to contribute to this
> great library! :)
> 2013/4/16 Tom Crayford <tcrayford at gmail.com>:
> > Roman,
> >
> > Thanks for the feedback! I'd originally left the QuickCheck and HUnit
> > implementations in this library for convenience, thinking that there
> aren't
> > going to be many people who care about the transitive dep. But you care,
> so
> > I'm happy moving them out of core. I'll release a 0.2 with both the HUnit
> > and the QuickCheck runners in separate libraries soonish.
> >
> > Thanks for the haddock tip and the implementation tips.
> >
> > Re the Control namespace, these matchers aren't exclusively a testing
> tool.
> > I've been using the core api for other purposes as well (primarily for
> > validating forms in user interfaces in conjunction with
> digestive-functors).
> > I couldn't figure anything better to put it in apart from Control (I
> > definitely don't want it in Test, even though that's going to be what
> most
> > people use it for). I guess it could be in `Data`, but that doesn't sound
> > much better to me.
> >
> > I'm not amazingly strong at building more principled interfaces right
> now,
> > so I guess that's something I'll improve on. Are there any concrete
> > suggestions you have there? I'd *like* these to have an `Alternative`
> > instance, but making `Applicative`/`Functor` instances is beyond me right
> > now (I guess I'd have to change the core API for that to work out).
> >
> > Tom
> >
> >
> > ...
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