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Monthly Downloads: 27
Programming language: Haskell
License: BSD 3-clause "New" or "Revised" License
Tags: Control     Mtl    

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mtl-unleashed

MonadReader and MonadState without the functional dependencies

Have you ever wanted to say

myFunction :: (MonadState Foo m, MonadState Bar m) => m r
myFunction = do
  (foo :: Foo) <- get
  (bar :: Bar) <- get
  return $ myPureFn foo bar

that is, declare two different MonadState values (Foo and Bar) for a single monad m? If so, you almost certainly saw something like this:

Couldn't match type ‘Foo’ with ‘Bar’
arising from a functional dependency between constraints:
  ‘MonadState Bar m’
    arising from the type signature for
                   myFunction :: (MonadState Foo m, MonadState Bar m) => m r
  ‘MonadState Foo m’
    arising from the type signature for
                   myFunction :: (MonadState Foo m, MonadState Bar m) => m r

This functional dependency @MonadState s m | m -> s@ means fewer ambiguities in code that uses this class. But what happens if we remove it? The mtl-unleashed package provides copies of MonadState and MonadReader (named MonadStates and MonadReaders) with that functional dependency removed. This allows more flexibility to extract bits and pieces of state based on type, at the expense of occasionally having to insert a disambiguating signature.

These classes allow you to access bits of the State by type, without knowing exactly what the overall state type is, as in our example above.

myFunction :: (MonadStates Foo m, MonadStates Bar m) => m r

This will work as long as the caller's monad m has instances of MonadStates for both Foo and Bar. The same set of default instances are provided for MonadReaders and MonadStates as come with MonadReader and MonadState:

instance Monad m => MonadReaders r (ReaderT r m)
instance MonadReaders r ((->) r)
instance MonadReaders r m => MonadReaders r (StateT s m)
instance (Monoid w, MonadReaders r m) => MonadReaders r (WriterT w m)
instance MonadReaders r m => MonadReaders r (MaybeT m)
...

There are two cases where additional instances must be supplied: (1) when you want to access a piece of a value, or (2) when you want to reach down through nested ReaderT or StateT monads to get to a value. As an example of (1), here we create MonadState instances for the types Foo and Bar by supplying instances that extract them from a type S (using lens operators):

Data S = S {
  _foo :: Foo,
  _bar :: Bar
}

$(makeLenses ''S)

instance Monad m => MonadStates Foo (StateT S m) where
   getPoly = use foo
   putPoly s = foo .= s

instance Monad m => MonadReaders Foo (ReaderT S m) where
   askPoly = view foo
   localPoly f action = withReaderT (over foo f) action

instance Monad m => MonadStates Bar (StateT S m) where
   getPoly = use bar
   putPoly s = bar .= s

instance Monad m => MonadReaders Bar (ReaderT S m) where
   askPoly = view bar
   localPoly f action = withReaderT (over bar f) action

Now you can say

evalState (return (getPoly, getPoly) :: (Foo, Bar)) (S mempty mempty)

If we have nested StateT's or ReaderT's we need to supply an instance to determine how to lift the buried one to get at a type. Because we know there is a Foo in m (and presumably none in Baz) we can get at it using a lift:

instance MonadStates Foo m => MonadStates Foo (StateT Baz m) where
  getPoly = lift getPoly
  putPoly = lift . putPoly

The implementation of a similar instance for ReaderT shows where we must resolve an ambiguity that would not bother us with MonadReader:

instance MonadReaders Foo m => MonadReaders Foo (ReaderT Bar m) where
  askPoly = lift askPoly
  localPoly f action = askPoly >>= \(foo :: Foo) -> runReaderT (localPoly f (lift action)) foo