[Haskell-cafe] Writer + log each computation to stdout

Niklas Haas haskell at nand.wakku.to
Tue Nov 26 09:50:44 UTC 2013

On Mon, 25 Nov 2013 14:54:20 -0800, Bryan Vicknair <bryanvick at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello,
> I have a bunch of little database IO functions.  Each does something to the
> database, and returns a log string describing what it did, and possibly a
> meaningful result from the database.
>   query  :: IO (String, a)
>   update :: a -> IO (String, ())
> ...and a few functions that orchestrate all the little functions into doing
> useful work.
>   syncWeek :: Week -> IO ()
>   syncAll  : : IO ()
> I don't want the individual functions to know what is done with the log string
> describing what they did.  Top-level orchestrating functions should make that
> decision, which can be one of:
> 1) Collect and print all to a log once all computations are done.
> 2) Print to stdout *as each computation is run*.
> 3) Ignore them.
> Here is my understanding of how common monads would handle these requirements:
> Writer: 1 and 3 are easy.  This is what I originally attempted to use, but I
>         couldn't figure out how to accomplish #2.
> Reader: 2 and 3 can be accomplished if each function reads a shouldLog config
>         variable from the reader and does a putStrLn depending on the value.
>         Very ugly, as now each function has to know how to log output.
> State:  Not sure, but the Writer docs in the transformers package points to
>         this monad as maybe solving requirement #2 above.
> The use case is that when I call the top-level functions from a command line
> script, I want to see logging happening in real-time to stdout, but I may call
> the same top-level functions from a larger application that may be logging to
> somewhere other than stdout, and may call the top-level functions from yet
> another larger application which doesn't want anything to be logged.
> How can I glue together a bunch of smaller computations, which may call
> each other, and decide at a higher level what to do with the logging result of
> each computation?  Seems like a perfect fit for Writer, except for the
> requirement to be able to print to stdout at each step.
> Bryan Vicknair
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> Haskell-Cafe at haskell.org
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Looks like a free monad construction should work:

{-# LANGUAGE DeriveFunctor #-}

import Prelude hiding (log)
import Control.Monad.Free

data LogF a = LogF { log :: String, act :: IO a } deriving Functor
type Log = Free LogF

test :: Log ()
test = liftF $ LogF "logging" (putStrLn "acting")

interactLog :: Log a -> IO a
interactLog (Pure x) = return x
interactLog (Free l) = do
  putStrLn $ "[Log] " ++ log l
  act l >>= interactLog

>>> interactLog $ replicateM_ 3 test
[Log] logging
[Log] logging
[Log] logging

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