[Haskell-cafe] Abandoning String = [Char]?

Andrew Gibiansky andrew.gibiansky at gmail.com
Mon May 18 22:44:54 UTC 2015

Hey all,

In the earlier haskell-cafe discussion of IsString, someone mentioned that
it would be nice to abandon [Char] as the blessed string type in Haskell.
I've thought about this on and off for a while now, and think that the fact
that [Char] is the default string type is a really big issue (for example,
it gives beginners the idea that Haskell is incredibly slow, because
everything that involves string processing is using linked lists).

I am not proposing anything, but am curious as to what already has been

1. Has the possibility of migrating away from [Char] been investigated
2. What gains could we see in ease of use, performance, etc, if [Char] was
3. What could replace [Char], while retaining the same ease of use for
writing string manipulation functions (pattern matching, etc)?
4. Is there any sort of migration path that would make this change feasible
in mainline Haskell in the medium term (2-5 years)?

Thanks! I would welcome any references or links that my cursory googling
has failed to find.

-- Andrew
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