Proposal: Applicative => Monad: Call for consensus

Bas van Dijk v.dijk.bas at
Mon Jan 3 23:30:44 CET 2011

On Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 12:43 PM, Ian Lynagh <igloo at> wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 02, 2011 at 06:27:04PM -0800, Iavor Diatchki wrote:
>> I think
>> that it would be useful if there was a wiki page which describes the
>> proposal exactly, so that we can discuss the details
> I agree. I'm confused as to what is part of the proposal, what are other
> changes necessary due to the classes changing, what are orthogonal
> cleanups, and what is not being proposed.

The patch for base makes a few changes:

1) Make Applicative a superclass of Monad. So the new hierarchy becomes:

class  Functor f  where
    fmap        :: (a -> b) -> f a -> f b

    (<$)        :: a -> f b -> f a
    (<$)        =  fmap . const

class Functor f => Applicative f where
    pure :: a -> f a

    (<*>) :: f (a -> b) -> f a -> f b

    (*>) :: f a -> f b -> f b
    a *> b = fmap (const id) a <*> b

    (<*) :: f a -> f b -> f a
    a <* b = fmap const a <*> b

class Applicative m => Monad m  where
    (>>=) :: forall a b. m a -> (a -> m b) -> m b
    m >>= f = join $ fmap f m

    join :: m (m a) -> m a
    join m = m >>= id

    (>>) :: forall a b. m a -> m b -> m b
    (>>) = (*>)

    return :: a -> m a
    return = pure

    fail :: String -> m a
    fail s = error s

2) Make 'join' a method of Monad.

3) Export Applicative(pure, (<*>), (*>), (<*)) from the Prelude.
(Maybe we shouldn't export the (*>) and (<*) methods.)

4) Also export the join method from the Prelude.

5) Add Applicative instances for all monads in base.

6) Add a Monad instance for ((,) a): (There are already Functor and
Applicative instances for it.)

instance Monoid a => Monad ((,) a) where
        (u, x) >>= f = let (v, y) = f x
                       in (u `mappend` v, y)

(Maybe this one should be left out of the patch)

The patch for ghc simply adds Applicative instances for all monads in
ghc. Also included in the ghc patch bundle are some refactoring
patches that will make the transition easier:

* Added (<>) = mappend to compiler/utils/Util.hs.
* Add a Monoid instance for AGraph and remove the <*> splice operator.
Instead of <*>, the (<>) = mappend operator is now used to splice AGraphs.
This change is needed because <*> clashes with the Applicative apply
operator <*>, which is probably going to be exported from the Prelude
when the new Monad hierarchy is going through. (Simply hiding <*> from
the Prelude is also possible of course. However, I think this makes
things easier to understand)
* Make SDoc an abstract newtype and add a Monoid instance for it.
The (<>) combinator of SDocs is removed and replaced by the more
general (<>) = mappend combinator from Util.

Note that all the ghc patches can be applied independently of the base patch.

Now which notable things are not included in the patch for base:

* fmap is not renamed to map.
* return and (>>) are not removed as a method.
* fail is not removed as a method.
* All the liftM functions are not removed in favour of fmap and liftAs.

I think these are better left as separate proposals.



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