Associated Types

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Brief Explanation

Associated types are data type and type synonym declarations in type classes. They are useful to denote type-indexed data types (i.e., generic programming) and functions over types. Applications include the typical applications of functional dependencies, but also self-optimising libraries and APIs that resemble ML module signatures.




  • Only a prototype implementation so far. We are in the process of implementing them in GHC, but that is a significant undertaking as they have to play nicely along with other extensions (e.g., GADTs) and we are after a more lightweight type-preserving translation than the one in the POPL paper. So, given requirement that all Haskell' features need to have been implemented in at least on Haskell system, it seems unlikely that we can meet the currently proposed Haskell' timeline.
  • The inference algorithm may accept types with unsatisfiable constraints, deferring errors until the function is used.
  • The published version of ATs does not permit constraints on associated type synonyms in superclass contexts, which are required by some monad transformer classes. In conjunction with other proposed extensions, allowing such constraints may lead to further non-termination problems.
Last modified 11 years ago Last modified on Apr 30, 2006 11:19:55 PM