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Import

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The
import
statement is used to import functions and other definitions from another module. The shortest form of the import statement is
import Data.Maybe
that imports the named module (in this case
Data.Maybe
).

However, there are more options: The module can be imported qualified, with or without hiding, and with or without renaming. Getting all of this straight in your head is quite tricky, so here is a table (lifted directly from the language reference manual) that roughly summarises the various possibilities:

Suppose that module
Mod
exports three functions named
x
,
y
and
z
. In that case:
Import command What is brought into scope Notes
import Mod
x, y, z, Mod.x, Mod.y, Mod.z
(By default, qualified and unqualified names.)
import Mod ()
(Nothing!) (Useful for only importing instances of typeclasses and nothing else)
import Mod (x,y)
x, y, Mod.x, Mod.y
(Only
x
and
y
, no
z
.)
import qualified Mod
Mod.x, Mod.y, Mod.z
(Only qualified versions; no unqualified versions.)
import qualified Mod (x,y)
Mod.x, Mod.y
(Only
x
and
y
, only qualified.)
import Mod hiding (x,y)
z, Mod.z
(
x
and
y
are hidden.)
import qualified Mod hiding (x,y)
Mod.z
(
x
and
y
are hidden.)
import Mod as Foo
x, y, z, Foo.x, Foo.y, Foo.z
(Unqualified names as before. Qualified names use
Foo
instead of
Mod
.)
import Mod as Foo (x,y)
x, y, Foo.x, Foo.y
(Only import
x
and
y
.)
import qualified Mod as Foo
Foo.x, Foo.y, Foo.z
(Only qualified names, using new qualifier.)
Note also that, by default, every module implicitly imports
Prelude
. However, if you add an explicit import declaration for the prelude, this turns off the implicit one. Thus, if you wanted (for example) to write a module that redefines
zip
you could do
module Mod where
 
import Prelude hiding (zip)
 
zip = {- ... -}
Without the
import
statement, you could receive a compile-time error about an 'ambiguous use of
zip
'. A slightly more messy alternative is to do
module Mod where
 
import qualified Prelude as P
 
zip = {- ... -}
This has the disadvantage that (say) '
P.show (2 P.+ 3 P.* 3) P.++ "abc"
' is very messy to read. Typically a module only redefines a few prelude functions, and it's simpler to just hide the ones you don't want to clash with.

Note that any module using a module that redefines prelude functions will need to import either the prelude or the other module (or maybe both) qualified and/or with hiding for the same reason.

See also