[Haskell-cafe] GHC gets simpler!?

Jeffrey Brown jeffbrown.the at gmail.com
Fri Aug 24 04:47:36 UTC 2018

I just flipped through the list of accepted GHC proposals[1]. I feel like a
kid in a candy shop. I am particularly excited to see the large fraction of
proposals that look like either simplifications or homogenizations (making
the language more uniform):

* Make Constraint not apart from Type
* Allow signatures on pattern synonym constructors
* Explicit foralls ("Permit ``forall ...`` to bind type variables after the
word ``instance`` ...")
* Remove the * kind syntax
* Allow ScopedTypeVariables to refer to types
* Treat kind and type vars identically with `forall`
* Embrace (Type :: Type) ("This proposal expands the meaning of -XPolyKinds
to include -XTypeInType, deprecates -XTypeInType, and advocates for using
Type in place of *.")

At various times, I have tried to explore the GHC extensions thoroughly --
well enough to know which ones will let you do what, so that I can learn
the right one in detail when I need to. I have always turned back; the
space seems too big to cover, and only growing. But now I see that GHC
hosts competing forces of simplification and complication.

This might be a squishy question, but I'm interested in your feelings
regarding how navigable the space of extensions is, and whether you think
balkanization is a problem, and how you expect those qualities to evolve.


Jeff Brown | Jeffrey Benjamin Brown
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