Proposal: `Enum` class overhaul

M Farkas-Dyck strake888 at
Thu Dec 14 04:11:03 UTC 2017

I propose to add some new methods of `Enum`:

class Enum a where

     predMay, succMay :: a -> Maybe a
     toEnum' :: Integer -> Maybe a
     fromEnum' a -> Integer

Rationale for `fromEnum'` and `toEnum'`:

The docs for `Enum` now say the minimal complete definition is `toEnum` and `fromEnum`, but this is not enough to have sane default instances of the other methods, for example:

data ABC = A | B | C deriving Show
instance Enum ABC where
     toEnum 0 = A
     toEnum 1 = B
     toEnum 2 = C
     fromEnum A = 0
     fromEnum B = 1
     fromEnum C = 2

main = print [A ..] -- [A,B,C,*** Exception: Non-exhaustive patterns in function toEnum

In this case one could merely derive `Enum`, but not in some other cases, e.g. numeric types or GADTs. It is not possible to do better defining `toEnum` and `fromEnum` alone.

If we default-define `toEnum'` and `fromEnum'` and their evil (i.e. partial) syblings in terms of each other, the user need merely define the total methods.

Using `Integer` rather than `Int` allows these methods to not fail for types larger than an `Int`, which are not uncommon on 32-bit systems.

Rationale for `predMay` and `succMay`:

I include these partly for completeness, but `predMay` can not now be defined in general, and `succMay` only cumbersomely in terms of `enumFrom`.

Note: All rationales imply "unless one uses `unsafePerformIO`". I'd rather not, myself.

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