Chapter 41

module System.IO (  
    IO,  fixIO,  FilePath,  Handle,  stdin,  stdout,  stderr,  withFile,  
    openFile,  IOMode(ReadMode, WriteMode, AppendMode, ReadWriteMode),  hClose,  
    readFile,  writeFile,  appendFile,  hFileSize,  hSetFileSize,  hIsEOF,  
    isEOF,  BufferMode(NoBuffering, LineBuffering, BlockBuffering),  
    hSetBuffering,  hGetBuffering,  hFlush,  hGetPosn,  hSetPosn,  HandlePosn,  
    hSeek,  SeekMode(AbsoluteSeek, RelativeSeek, SeekFromEnd),  hTell,  
    hIsOpen,  hIsClosed,  hIsReadable,  hIsWritable,  hIsSeekable,  
    hIsTerminalDevice,  hSetEcho,  hGetEcho,  hShow,  hWaitForInput,  hReady,  
    hGetChar,  hGetLine,  hLookAhead,  hGetContents,  hPutChar,  hPutStr,  
    hPutStrLn,  hPrint,  interact,  putChar,  putStr,  putStrLn,  print,  
    getChar,  getLine,  getContents,  readIO,  readLn  
  ) where

41.1 The IO monad

data IO a
A value of type IO a is a computation which, when performed, does some I/O before returning a value of type a.

There is really only one way to ”perform” an I/O action: bind it to Main.main in your program. When your program is run, the I/O will be performed. It isn’t possible to perform I/O from an arbitrary function, unless that function is itself in the IO monad and called at some point, directly or indirectly, from Main.main.

IO is a monad, so IO actions can be combined using either the do-notation or the >> and >>= operations from the Monad class.

instance Monad IO
instance Functor IO

fixIO :: (a -> IO a) -> IO a

41.2 Files and handles

type FilePath = String
File and directory names are values of type String, whose precise meaning is operating system dependent. Files can be opened, yielding a handle which can then be used to operate on the contents of that file.

data Handle
Haskell defines operations to read and write characters from and to files, represented by values of type Handle. Each value of this type is a handle: a record used by the Haskell run-time system to manage I/O with file system objects. A handle has at least the following properties:

Most handles will also have a current I/O position indicating where the next input or output operation will occur. A handle is readable if it manages only input or both input and output; likewise, it is writable if it manages only output or both input and output. A handle is open when first allocated. Once it is closed it can no longer be used for either input or output, though an implementation cannot re-use its storage while references remain to it. Handles are in the Show and Eq classes. The string produced by showing a handle is system dependent; it should include enough information to identify the handle for debugging. A handle is equal according to == only to itself; no attempt is made to compare the internal state of different handles for equality.

instance Eq Handle
instance Show Handle

41.2.1 Standard handles

Three handles are allocated during program initialisation, and are initially open.

stdin :: Handle
A handle managing input from the Haskell program’s standard input channel.

stdout :: Handle
A handle managing output to the Haskell program’s standard output channel.

stderr :: Handle
A handle managing output to the Haskell program’s standard error channel.

41.3 Opening and closing files

41.3.1 Opening files

withFile :: FilePath -> IOMode -> (Handle -> IO r) -> IO r
withFile name mode act opens a file using openFile and passes the resulting handle to the computation act. The handle will be closed on exit from withFile, whether by normal termination or by raising an exception. If closing the handle raises an exception, then this exception will be raised by withFile rather than any exception raised by act.

openFile :: FilePath -> IOMode -> IO Handle
Computation openFile file mode allocates and returns a new, open handle to manage the file file. It manages input if mode is ReadMode, output if mode is WriteMode or AppendMode, and both input and output if mode is ReadWriteMode.

If the file does not exist and it is opened for output, it should be created as a new file. If mode is WriteMode and the file already exists, then it should be truncated to zero length. Some operating systems delete empty files, so there is no guarantee that the file will exist following an openFile with modeWriteMode unless it is subsequently written to successfully. The handle is positioned at the end of the file if mode is AppendMode, and otherwise at the beginning (in which case its internal position is 0). The initial buffer mode is implementation-dependent.

This operation may fail with:

data IOMode
= ReadMode
| WriteMode
| AppendMode
| ReadWriteMode

See System.IO.openFile

instance Enum IOMode
instance Eq IOMode
instance Ord IOMode
instance Read IOMode
instance Show IOMode
instance Ix IOMode

41.3.2 Closing files

hClose :: Handle -> IO ()
Computation hClose hdl makes handle hdl closed. Before the computation finishes, if hdl is writable its buffer is flushed as for hFlush. Performing hClose on a handle that has already been closed has no effect; doing so is not an error. All other operations on a closed handle will fail. If hClose fails for any reason, any further operations (apart from hClose) on the handle will still fail as if hdl had been successfully closed.

41.3.3 Special cases

These functions are also exported by the Prelude.

readFile :: FilePath -> IO String
The readFile function reads a file and returns the contents of the file as a string. The file is read lazily, on demand, as with getContents.

writeFile :: FilePath -> String -> IO ()
The computation writeFilefile str function writes the string str, to the file file.

appendFile :: FilePath -> String -> IO ()
The computation appendFilefile str function appends the string str, to the file file.

Note that writeFile and appendFile write a literal string to a file. To write a value of any printable type, as with print, use the show function to convert the value to a string first.

 main = appendFile "squares" (show [(x,x⋆x) | x <- [0,0.1..2]])

41.3.4 File locking

Implementations should enforce as far as possible, at least locally to the Haskell process, multiple-reader single-writer locking on files. That is, there may either be many handles on the same file which manage input, or just one handle on the file which manages output. If any open or semi-closed handle is managing a file for output, no new handle can be allocated for that file. If any open or semi-closed handle is managing a file for input, new handles can only be allocated if they do not manage output. Whether two files are the same is implementation-dependent, but they should normally be the same if they have the same absolute path name and neither has been renamed, for example.

Warning: the readFile operation holds a semi-closed handle on the file until the entire contents of the file have been consumed. It follows that an attempt to write to a file (using writeFile, for example) that was earlier opened by readFile will usually result in failure with System.IO.Error.isAlreadyInUseError.

41.4 Operations on handles

41.4.1 Determining and changing the size of a file

hFileSize :: Handle -> IO Integer
For a handle hdl which attached to a physical file, hFileSize hdl returns the size of that file in 8-bit bytes.

hSetFileSize :: Handle -> Integer -> IO ()
hSetFileSizehdlsize truncates the physical file with handle hdl to size bytes.

41.4.2 Detecting the end of input

hIsEOF :: Handle -> IO Bool
For a readable handle hdl, hIsEOF hdl returns True if no further input can be taken from hdl or for a physical file, if the current I/O position is equal to the length of the file. Otherwise, it returns False.

NOTE: hIsEOF may block, because it has to attempt to read from the stream to determine whether there is any more data to be read.

isEOF :: IO Bool
The computation isEOF is identical to hIsEOF, except that it works only on stdin.

41.4.3 Buffering operations

data BufferMode
= NoBuffering buffering is disabled if possible.
| LineBuffering line-buffering should be enabled if possible.
| BlockBuffering (Maybe Int) block-buffering should be enabled if possible. The size of the buffer is n items if the argument is Justn and is otherwise implementation-dependent.

Three kinds of buffering are supported: line-buffering, block-buffering or no-buffering. These modes have the following effects. For output, items are written out, or flushed, from the internal buffer according to the buffer mode:

An implementation is free to flush the buffer more frequently, but not less frequently, than specified above. The output buffer is emptied as soon as it has been written out.

Similarly, input occurs according to the buffer mode for the handle:

The default buffering mode when a handle is opened is implementation-dependent and may depend on the file system object which is attached to that handle. For most implementations, physical files will normally be block-buffered and terminals will normally be line-buffered.

instance Eq BufferMode
instance Ord BufferMode
instance Read BufferMode
instance Show BufferMode

hSetBuffering :: Handle -> BufferMode -> IO ()
Computation hSetBufferinghdl mode sets the mode of buffering for handle hdl on subsequent reads and writes.

If the buffer mode is changed from BlockBuffering or LineBuffering to NoBuffering, then

This operation may fail with:

hGetBuffering :: Handle -> IO BufferMode
Computation hGetBufferinghdl returns the current buffering mode for hdl.

hFlush :: Handle -> IO ()
The action hFlushhdl causes any items buffered for output in handle hdl to be sent immediately to the operating system.

This operation may fail with:

41.4.4 Repositioning handles

hGetPosn :: Handle -> IO HandlePosn
Computation hGetPosnhdl returns the current I/O position of hdl as a value of the abstract type HandlePosn.

hSetPosn :: HandlePosn -> IO ()
If a call to hGetPosnhdl returns a position p, then computation hSetPosnp sets the position of hdl to the position it held at the time of the call to hGetPosn.

This operation may fail with:

data HandlePosn

instance Eq HandlePosn
instance Show HandlePosn

hSeek :: Handle -> SeekMode -> Integer -> IO ()
Computation hSeekhdl mode i sets the position of handle hdl depending on mode. The offset i is given in terms of 8-bit bytes.

If hdl is block- or line-buffered, then seeking to a position which is not in the current buffer will first cause any items in the output buffer to be written to the device, and then cause the input buffer to be discarded. Some handles may not be seekable (see hIsSeekable), or only support a subset of the possible positioning operations (for instance, it may only be possible to seek to the end of a tape, or to a positive offset from the beginning or current position). It is not possible to set a negative I/O position, or for a physical file, an I/O position beyond the current end-of-file.

This operation may fail with:

data SeekMode
= AbsoluteSeek the position of hdl is set to i.
| RelativeSeek the position of hdl is set to offset i from the current position.
| SeekFromEnd the position of hdl is set to offset i from the end of the file.

A mode that determines the effect of hSeekhdl mode i.

instance Enum SeekMode
instance Eq SeekMode
instance Ord SeekMode
instance Read SeekMode
instance Show SeekMode
instance Ix SeekMode

hTell :: Handle -> IO Integer
Computation hTellhdl returns the current position of the handle hdl, as the number of bytes from the beginning of the file. The value returned may be subsequently passed to hSeek to reposition the handle to the current position.

This operation may fail with:

41.4.5 Handle properties

Each of these operations returns True if the handle has the the specified property, or False otherwise.

hIsOpen :: Handle -> IO Bool
hIsClosed :: Handle -> IO Bool
hIsReadable :: Handle -> IO Bool
hIsWritable :: Handle -> IO Bool
hIsSeekable :: Handle -> IO Bool

41.4.6 Terminal operations

hIsTerminalDevice :: Handle -> IO Bool
Is the handle connected to a terminal?

hSetEcho :: Handle -> Bool -> IO ()
Set the echoing status of a handle connected to a terminal.

hGetEcho :: Handle -> IO Bool
Get the echoing status of a handle connected to a terminal.

41.4.7 Showing handle state

hShow :: Handle -> IO String
hShow is in the IO monad, and gives more comprehensive output than the (pure) instance of Show for Handle.

41.5 Text input and output

41.5.1 Text input

hWaitForInput :: Handle -> Int -> IO Bool
Computation hWaitForInputhdl t waits until input is available on handle hdl. It returns True as soon as input is available on hdl, or False if no input is available within t milliseconds. Note that hWaitForInput waits until one or more full characters are available, which means that it needs to do decoding, and hence may fail with a decoding error.

If t is less than zero, then hWaitForInput waits indefinitely.

This operation may fail with:

hReady :: Handle -> IO Bool
Computation hReadyhdl indicates whether at least one item is available for input from handle hdl.

This operation may fail with:

hGetChar :: Handle -> IO Char
Computation hGetChar hdl reads a character from the file or channel managed by hdl, blocking until a character is available.

This operation may fail with:

hGetLine :: Handle -> IO String
Computation hGetLinehdl reads a line from the file or channel managed by hdl.

This operation may fail with:

If hGetLine encounters end-of-file at any other point while reading in a line, it is treated as a line terminator and the (partial) line is returned.

hLookAhead :: Handle -> IO Char
Computation hLookAhead returns the next character from the handle without removing it from the input buffer, blocking until a character is available.

This operation may fail with:

hGetContents :: Handle -> IO String
Computation hGetContentshdl returns the list of characters corresponding to the unread portion of the channel or file managed by hdl, which is put into an intermediate state, semi-closed. In this state, hdl is effectively closed, but items are read from hdl on demand and accumulated in a special list returned by hGetContentshdl.

Any operation that fails because a handle is closed, also fails if a handle is semi-closed. The only exception is hClose. A semi-closed handle becomes closed:

Once a semi-closed handle becomes closed, the contents of the associated list becomes fixed. The contents of this final list is only partially specified: it will contain at least all the items of the stream that were evaluated prior to the handle becoming closed.

Any I/O errors encountered while a handle is semi-closed are simply discarded.

This operation may fail with:

41.5.2 Text output

hPutChar :: Handle -> Char -> IO ()
Computation hPutChar hdl ch writes the character ch to the file or channel managed by hdl. Characters may be buffered if buffering is enabled for hdl.

This operation may fail with:

hPutStr :: Handle -> String -> IO ()
Computation hPutStrhdl s writes the string s to the file or channel managed by hdl.

This operation may fail with:

hPutStrLn :: Handle -> String -> IO ()
The same as hPutStr, but adds a newline character.

hPrint :: Show a => Handle -> a -> IO ()
Computation hPrint hdl t writes the string representation of t given by the shows function to the file or channel managed by hdl and appends a newline.

This operation may fail with:

41.5.3 Special cases for standard input and output

These functions are also exported by the Prelude.

interact :: (String -> String) -> IO ()
The interact function takes a function of type String->String as its argument. The entire input from the standard input device is passed to this function as its argument, and the resulting string is output on the standard output device.

putChar :: Char -> IO ()
Write a character to the standard output device (same as hPutCharstdout).

putStr :: String -> IO ()
Write a string to the standard output device (same as hPutStrstdout).

putStrLn :: String -> IO ()
The same as putStr, but adds a newline character.

print :: Show a => a -> IO ()
The print function outputs a value of any printable type to the standard output device. Printable types are those that are instances of class Show; print converts values to strings for output using the show operation and adds a newline.

For example, a program to print the first 20 integers and their powers of 2 could be written as:

 main = print ([(n, 2^n) | n <- [0..19]])

getChar :: IO Char
Read a character from the standard input device (same as hGetCharstdin).

getLine :: IO String
Read a line from the standard input device (same as hGetLinestdin).

getContents :: IO String
The getContents operation returns all user input as a single string, which is read lazily as it is needed (same as hGetContentsstdin).

readIO :: Read a => String -> IO a
The readIO function is similar to read except that it signals parse failure to the IO monad instead of terminating the program.

readLn :: Read a => IO a
The readLn function combines getLine and readIO.