[Haskell-cafe] an idea for modifiyng data/newtype syntax: use `::=` instead of `=`

Will Yager will.yager at gmail.com
Sat Aug 8 23:30:50 UTC 2015

Obviously a change like this would be horribly destructive to existing code, and for relatively little benefit. There are much larger barriers to understanding Haskell than syntactic trivia like the one mentioned here. 

That said, it seems reasonable to claim that the existing type declaration keywords (type, data, newtype) can be confusing to newbies and somewhat non-intuitive. If we could go back in time and change these small details without breaking swathes of existing code, perhaps we would. 

I'm sure most of us who use Haskell on a regular basis have a number of small gripes about the language that aren't important enough to break things over, but would still be convenient or aesthetically pleasing to change if we're going to break backwards compatibility anyway. 

It is worth asking, then, if we should record these small aesthetic suggestions somewhere for consideration while designing the next major compatibility-breaking release of the Haskell specification (Haskell 2020 or what have you). 


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