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Revision as of 22:11, 19 November 2010 by Roconnor (talk | contribs) (An example of how to make Multiplate instaces.)
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Making a Multiplate instance

The easiest way to understand how to use Multiplate is to look at a simple example.

> import Data.Generics.Multiplate

Suppose you defined the follow set of mutually recursive data types for a simple language.

> data Expr = Con Int
>           | Add Expr Expr
>           | Mul Expr Expr
>           | EVar Var
>           | Let Decl Expr
>           deriving (Eq, Show)
> data Decl = Var := Expr
>           | Seq Decl Decl
>           deriving (Eq, Show)
> type Var = String

The first thing we are going to define is a 'plate' for this language.

> data Plate f = Plate
>            { expr :: Expr -> f Expr
>            , decl :: Decl -> f Decl
>            }

A plate is a record type that is parametrized by a functor f. There is one field for each type in the mutually recursive structure we want to write generic functions for. Each field has type A -> f A where A is one of the data types.

To use the Multiplate library we have to make Plate and instance of the Multiplate class. The instance requires that we write two functions: multiplate and mkPlate. Let's define each of these functions in turn.

> instance Multiplate Plate where

We have to write one piece of boilerplate code for multiplate. However, once this is implemented, no further boilerplate code need be written. multiplate takes a Plate as a parameter. The idea is that for each expression in our language we will call this a function from this Plate parameter on the children of our expression and then combine the results.

>  multiplate plate = Plate buildExpr buildDecl
>   where
>    buildExpr (Add e1 e2) = Add <$> expr plate e1 <*> expr plate e2
>    buildExpr (Mul e1 e2) = Mul <$> expr plate e1 <*> expr plate e2
>    buildExpr (Let d e) = Let <$> decl plate d <*> expr plate e
>    buildExpr e = pure e
>    buildDecl (v := e) = (:=) <$> pure v <*> expr plate e
>    buildDecl (Seq d1 d2) = Seq <$> decl plate d1 <*> decl plate d2

Notice that when an expression has no children, as in the case of v in v := e, we simply use pure v. pure is used to handle the default case in buildExpr, also have no subexpressions.

Next we have to define mkPlate. mkPlate is a function that builds a Plate given a generic builder function that produces values of type a -> f a. However these generic builder functions require a bit of help. The need to know what the projection function for the field that they are building is, so we pass that as a parameter to them.

>  mkPlate build = Plate (build expr) (build decl)

That's it. Now we are ready to use out generic library to process our mutually recursive data structure without using any more boilerplate

Generic Programing with Multiplate

Coming Soon.