# Arrow tutorial

```
> {-# LANGUAGE Arrows #-}
> module ArrowFun where
> import Control.Arrow
> import Control.Category
> import Prelude hiding (id,(.))
``` |

## The `Arrow`

class

A value of type `(Arrow a) => a b c`

(commonly referred to as just an *arrow*) represents a process that takes as input a value of type `b`

and outputs a value of type `c`

.

The class includes the following methods:

`arr`

builds an arrow value out of a function:

arr :: (Arrow a) => (b -> c) -> a b c

`(>>>)`

composes two arrow values to form a new one by "chaining" them them together, one after another:

(>>>) :: (Arrow a) => a b c -> a c d -> a b d

`first`

and`second`

make a new arrow value out of an existing one. They perform a transformation (given by their argument) on either the first or the second item of a pair:

first :: (Arrow a) => a b c -> a (b, d) (c, d) second :: (Arrow a) => a b c -> a (d, b) (d, c)

`first`

and`second`

may seem pretty strange at first, but they'll make sense in a few minutes.

## A simple arrow type

Let's define a really simple arrow type as an example, based on a function mapping an input to an output:

> newtype SimpleFunc a b = SimpleFunc { > runF :: (a -> b) > } > > instance Arrow SimpleFunc where > arr f = SimpleFunc f > first (SimpleFunc f) = SimpleFunc (mapFst f) > where mapFst g (a,b) = (g a, b) > second (SimpleFunc f) = SimpleFunc (mapSnd f) > where mapSnd g (a,b) = (a, g b) > > instance Category SimpleFunc where > (SimpleFunc g) . (SimpleFunc f) = SimpleFunc (g . f) > id = arr id

## Some other arrow operations

Now let's define some operations that are generic to all arrow types:

`split`

is an arrow value that splits a single value into a pair of duplicate values:

> split :: (Arrow a) => a b (b, b) > split = arr (\x -> (x,x))

`unsplit`

is an arrow value that takes a pair of values and combines them to return a single value:

> unsplit :: (Arrow a) => (b -> c -> d) -> a (b, c) d > unsplit = arr . uncurry > -- = \op -> arr (\(x,y) -> x `op` y)

`(***)`

combines two arrow values by running them on a pair (the first arrow value on the first component of the pair; the second arrow value on the second component of the pair):

f *** g = first f >>> second g

`(&&&)`

combines two arrow values by running them with the same input:

f &&& g = split >>> first f >>> second g -- = split >>> f *** g

`liftA2`

makes a new arrow value that combines the output from two other arrow values using a binary operation. It works by splitting a value and operating on both halves and then combining the result:

> liftA2 :: (Arrow a) => (b -> c -> d) -> a e b -> a e c -> a e d > liftA2 op f g = split >>> first f >>> second g >>> unsplit op > -- = f &&& g >>> unsplit op

## An example

Now let's build something using our simple arrow definition and some of the tools we've just created. We start with two simple arrow values, `f`

and `g`

:

`f`

halves its input:

> f :: SimpleFunc Int Int > f = arr (`div` 2)

- and
`g`

triples its input and adds one:

> g :: SimpleFunc Int Int > g = arr (\x -> x*3 + 1)

We can combine these together using `liftA2`

:

> h :: SimpleFunc Int Int > h = liftA2 (+) f g > > hOutput :: Int > hOutput = runF h 8

What is `h`

? How does it work?

The process defined by `h`

is `split >>> first f >>> second g >>> unsplit (+)`

. Let's work through an application of `h`

to the value `8`

:

`8`

→ `(8, 8)`

`split`

`(8, 8)`

→ `(4, 8)`

`first f`

⇔`x `div` 2`

, where`x`

is the first component of the pair`(4, 8)`

→ `(4, 25)`

`second g`

⇔`3*y + 1`

, where`y`

is the second component of the pair`(4, 25)`

→ `29`

apply `(+)`

to the components of the pair

f ↗ ↘ 8 → (split) (unsplit (+)) → 29 ↘ ↗ g

We can see that `h`

is a new arrow value that, when applied to `8`

, will apply both `f`

and `g`

to `8`

, then adds their results.

A lot of juggling occurred to get the plumbing right since `h`

wasn't defined as a linear combination of arrow values. GHC has a syntactic notation that simplifies this in a similar way to how
`do`

-notation simplifies monadic computations. The `h`

function can then be defined as:

> h' :: SimpleFunc Int Int > h' = proc x -> do > fx <- f -< x > gx <- g -< x > returnA -< (fx + gx) > > hOutput' :: Int > hOutput' = runF h' 8

`Kleisli`

arrow values

Let's move on to something a little fancier now: Kleisli arrows.

A Kleisli arrow type (`Kleisli m a b`

) corresponds to the type `(a -> m b)`

, where `m`

is a monadic type. It's defined in `Control.Arrows`

similarly to our `SimpleFunc`

:

newtype Kleisli m a b = Kleisli { runKleisli :: (a -> m b) }

It comes complete with its own definitions for `arr`

, `(>>>)`

, `first`

, and `second`

. This means that all multi-value functions (i.e of type `a -> [b]`

) are already defined as Kleisli arrows (because the list type `[]`

is monadic)! `(>>>)`

performs composition, keeping track of all the multiple results. `split`

, `(&&&)`

and `(***)`

are all defined as before. For example:

> plusminus, double, h2 :: Kleisli [] Int Int > plusminus = Kleisli (\x -> [x, -x]) > double = arr (* 2) > h2 = liftA2 (+) plusminus double > > h2Output :: [Int] > h2Output = runKleisli h2 8

## A Teaser

Finally, here is a little teaser. There is an arrow function called `returnA`

which returns an identity arrow. There is an `ArrowPlus`

class that includes a `zeroArrow`

(which for the list type is an arrow value that always returns the empty list) and a `(<+>)`

operator (which takes the results from two arrow values and concatenates them). We can build up some pretty interesting string transformations (multi-valued functions of type `String -> [String]`

) using Kleisli arrow values:

> main :: IO () > main = do > let > prepend x = arr (x ++) > append x = arr (++ x) > withId t = returnA <+> t > xform = (withId $ prepend "<") >>> > (withId $ append ">") >>> > (withId $ ((prepend "!") >>> (append "!"))) > xs = ["test", "foobar"] >>= (runKleisli xform) > mapM_ putStrLn xs

An important observation here is that

f >>> g

is a multi-valued composition `(g . f)`

, and

`(withId f) >>> (withId g)`

= `(returnA <+> f) >>> (returnA <+> g)`

= `((arr id) <+> f) >>> ((arr id) <+> g)`

which, when applied to an input `x`

, returns all values:

`((id . id) x) ++ ((id . f) x) ++ ((id . g) x) ++ ((g . f) x)`

= `x ++ (f x) ++ (g x) ++ ((g . f) x)`

which are all permutations of using the arrow values `f`

and `g`

.

## Tutorial Meta

The wiki file source is literate Haskell. Save the source in a file called `ArrowFun.lhs`

to compile it (or run in GHCi).

The code is adapted to GHC 6.10.1; use [1] for older versions of GHC and other Haskell implementations.

- Original version - Nov 19, 2006, Tim Newsham.