suggestions for improving MonadWriter
Edward A Kmett
ekmett at gmail.com
Mon Jan 28 16:09:57 CET 2013
I've often wanted to remove the Monoid constraint, so I'm a strong +1 on the first one.
The second one I'm -1 on, given that it can be expressed with the existing combinators and due in small part to a more ideological concern:
Over time I've come to view cramming pass/listen and local into the respective MonadWriter and MonadReader classes as a mistake. If we had the hierarchy to do over, I'd probably want them split into separate subclasses. This would permit more instances involving Cont, logging to disk, etc.
Also, the former can be done purely within the mtl, while the latter drags transformers into it.
On Jan 27, 2013, at 3:30 PM, Petr P <petr.mvd at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear maintainers,
> I have two suggestions for MonadWriter:
> (1) Remove the "Monoid w" constraint from the definition.
> The constraints prevent creating new instances of the class that have only an implied monoid. For example, I needed to create a simple writer which always stores the last written element. I had to wrap it into Last, which was a nuisance for users of my library. Without the constraint, my instance would be quite simpler and still satisfying all the laws. There are many other similar use cases, like counting the number of written values (and disregarding their actual content) etc.
> The constraint is meant to ensure that instances of that class obey the monad laws. But it's not the responsibility of a type class that its instances satisfy the laws. They could violate them even without this constraints. Instead, this constraint should be specified (and it is) in the definition of their instances.
> It has been discussed in haskell-cafe <http://www.haskell.org/pipermail/haskell-cafe/2012-December/thread.html#105088> with arguments for and against.
> (2) Add
> -- | @contained m@ executes the action @m@ in a contained environment and
> -- returns its value and its output. The current output is not modified.
> contained :: m a -> m (a, w)
> to MonadWriter.
> This generalizes "pass" and "listen" and has it's a sort of inverse to "writer" with these simple laws:
> writer <=< contained = id
> contained . writer = return
> It seems as a understandable set of laws that its instances should obey.
> It also expresses the same concept as "runWriterT" does, but inside the type class. In particular, for "WriterT" we have
> contained :: (Monoid w, Monad m) => WriterT w m a -> WriterT w m (a, w)
> contained = lift . runWriterT
> Current instances won't be affected as "contained" can be expressed using "pass" and "listen" (and vice versa).
> Full details available at
> [There "contained" is expressed without the "Monoid w" constraint as suggested in (1). If we keep the constraint, "contained" can be expressed more simply as
> containde k = pass (listen k >>= \x -> return (x, const mempty)).
> Also, "contained" isn't probably a good name, I just couldn't think of anything better.]
> Best regards,
> Petr Pudlak
> Libraries mailing list
> Libraries at haskell.org
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