Version 5 (modified by 12 years ago) (diff) | ,
---|

# Polymorphic Components

See ExtensionDescriptionHowto for information on how to write these extension descriptions. Please add any new extensions to the list of HaskellExtensions.

## Brief Explanation

Data constructor arguments may have polymorphic types (marked with `forall`

)
and contexts constraining universally quantified type variables, e.g.

newtype Swizzle = MkSwizzle (forall a. Ord a => [a] -> [a])

The constructor then has a rank-2 type:

MkSwizzle :: (forall a. Ord a => [a] -> [a]) -> Swizzle

This feature also makes it possible to create explicit dictionaries, e.g.

data MyMonad m = MkMonad { unit :: forall a. a -> m a, bind :: forall a b. m a -> (a -> m b) -> m b }

The field selectors here have ordinary polymorphic types:

unit :: MyMonad m -> a -> m a bind :: MyMonad m -> m a -> (a -> m b) -> m b

## References

- From Hindley-Milner Types to First-Class Structures by Mark P. Jones, Haskell Workshop, 1995.
- distinguish from ExistentialQuantification

## Pros

- type inference seems to be a simple extension of Hindley-Milner.
- large increment in expressiveness: types become impredicative, albeit with an intervening data constructor, enabling Church encodings and similar System F tricks.
Functions with rank-2 types may be trivially encoded.
Functions with rank-n types may also be encoded, at the cost of packing and unpacking
`newtype`

s. - used by the ReadP type, which figures in a proposed replacement for the Read class.

## Cons

- more complex denotational semantics