Personal tools

Generics

From HaskellWiki

(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
Line 21: Line 21:
   
 
We now look at some approaches to generic programming in Haskell.
 
We now look at some approaches to generic programming in Haskell.
 
   
 
== GHC.Generics ==
 
== GHC.Generics ==
Line 28: Line 27:
   
 
== SYB ==
 
== SYB ==
  +
  +
Scrap Your Boilerplate (SYB), available in GHC since 6.0, is an earlier approach to generic programming, particularly well suited for traversals and transformations over large trees. It has its own [http://www.cs.uu.nl/wiki/GenericProgramming/SYB wiki page].
   
 
== Uniplate ==
 
== Uniplate ==
  +
  +
Uniplate is available as a [http://hackage.haskell.org/package/uniplate library on Hackage]. It is similar in nature to SYB, but uses simpler types. For more information [http://community.haskell.org/~ndm/uniplate/ see its webpage].
   
 
== Multirec ==
 
== Multirec ==
  +
  +
Multirec is a library for generic programming with fixed points, supporting mutually recursive families of datatypes, and allowing functionality such as folds or the zipper. For more information, [http://www.cs.uu.nl/wiki/GenericProgramming/Multirec see its webpage].

Revision as of 11:08, 21 April 2012

Datatype-generic programming, also frequently just called generic programming or generics in Haskell, is a form of abstraction that allows defining functions that can operate on a large class of datatypes. In this page we summarise a number of popular approaches to generic programming that are often used with GHC. For a more in-depth introduction to generic programming in general, have a look at Gibbon's Datatype-Generic Programming, or the Libraries for Generic Programming paper.

Contents

1 What is generic programming?

Haskell is a polymorphic language. This means that you can have a single datatype for lists:

data List a = Nil | Cons a (List a)

These lists can contain any type of information, such as integers, Booleans, or even other lists. Since the length of a list does not depend on the type of its elements, there is also a single definition for list length:

length :: List a -> Int
length Nil        = 0
length (Cons _ t) = 1 + length t

However, it's not only lists that have length. Consider a datatype for trees:

data Tree a = Leaf | Bin a (Tree a) (Tree a)

You can also compute the length of a tree (or its size, if you want), by recursively traversing the tree and counting the number of elements. Generic programming allows to define a single length function, that can operate on lists, trees, and many other datatypes. This reduces code duplication and makes the code more robust to changes, because you can change your datatypes without needing to adapt the generic functions that operate on them.

We now look at some approaches to generic programming in Haskell.

2 GHC.Generics

The
GHC.Generics
module, available since GHC version 7.2, allows you to easily define classes with methods for which no implementation is necessary, similarly to
Show
, for instance. It's described in a separate wiki page.

3 SYB

Scrap Your Boilerplate (SYB), available in GHC since 6.0, is an earlier approach to generic programming, particularly well suited for traversals and transformations over large trees. It has its own wiki page.

4 Uniplate

Uniplate is available as a library on Hackage. It is similar in nature to SYB, but uses simpler types. For more information see its webpage.

5 Multirec

Multirec is a library for generic programming with fixed points, supporting mutually recursive families of datatypes, and allowing functionality such as folds or the zipper. For more information, see its webpage.