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This page describes the motivation and design for a refactoring of diagrams, to give them a semantics based on computing fixed points of functions from "context" information to raw tree of primitives together with some summary information.


See the original "manifesto" and ensuing mailing list discussion here: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.lang.haskell.diagrams/383

See also later IRC discussion beginning here: http://ircbrowse.net/browse/diagrams?events_page=935

Detailed design

Most of the changes should be in the diagrams-core package, though a few things in diagrams-lib may need to change as well.


No changes should be necessary to the following modules (all prefixed by Diagrams.Core): Envelope, HasOrigin, Juxtapose, Names, Points, Query, Trace, Transform, V.

I'm not sure about Style yet.


  • Change the name of UpAnnots to Summary.
  • Change the name of DownAnnots to Context,
  • and change its definition to
 type Context b v m = Style v ::: Name ::: SubMap b v m ::: ()

The addition of SubMap is so that we can use the positions of laid-out subdiagrams to compute the positions of others.

  • transfToAnnot and transfFromAnnot can be
  • deleted. QDiaLeaf and withQDiaLeaf can be
  • deleted.
  • Create new definitions
 type ContextualT b v q m a = ReaderT (Context b v q) m a
 type Contextual b v q a = ContextualT b v q Identity a

One could imagine making ContextualT a newtype but that would necessitate writing lots of instances for things like MonadState, MonadReader, and so on.

  • The definition of QDiagram should be changed to
 something like
 type QDiagram b v m = Contextual b v m (RTree b v Annotation,
 Summary b v m)

Previously I had written:

It's important that this is NOT a newtype, so we can freely use the

Monad instance for Contextual when working with diagrams. This also means we don't need Wrapped or

Rewrapped instances for it anymore.

However, making QDiagram a type synonym means we lose the Functor instance! Also, in the end, it's probably better that users do not need to know the underlying implementation. So we'll have to make it a newtype after all, and figure out some nice API/combinators for making use of the Contextual monad... for example, (>>>=) :: Contextual b v m a -> (a -> QDiagram b v m) -> QDiagram b v m.

  • The implementation of applyAnnotation needs to change. All it needs to do is create a new RTree node (an RAnnot node), ignoring the context and having no effect on the summary. So something like
 applyAnnotation an = fmap (first (Node (RAnnot an) . (:[])))

We may end up having to do similar things in other situations so it may make sense to factor out parts of this into general utilities (e.g. addRoot :: RNode -> RTree -> RTree etc.)

  • Of course the implementation of almost all the rest of the functions in this module will need to change as well. I'll walk through a few particular examples and then discuss more general principles. First, pointDiagram. The current code is
 pointDiagram :: (Fractional (Scalar v), InnerSpace v) => Point v ->
              QDiagram b v m pointDiagram p = QD $ D.leafU (inj
              . toDeletable $ pointEnvelope p)

This creates a point envelope, wraps it in Deletable, injects it into an UpAnnots value, and uses it to create a leaf DUALTree. Everything up through UpAnnots still applies (though the name of UpAnnots has changed). What's different is that we aren't creating an explicit tree with summary values at leaves; we simply return the summary value as part of the result of the diagram function. So we can create a function leafS in parallel with leafU:

 emptyTree = Node REmpty []
 leafS :: Summary b v m -> QDiagram b v m leafS s = return
 (emptyTree, s)

Then the implementation of pointDiagram only needs to change to

 pointDiagram p = leafS (inj . toDeletable $ pointEnvelope p)
  • The current type of getU' can't work anymore, since we
 can't escape the Contextual monad.  But we can have
 getU' :: (Monoid u', u :>: u') => QDiagram b v m -> Contextual b v m
 u' getU' = fmap (option mempty id . get . snd)
  • setEnvelope: the main issue here is to figure out
 suitable replacements for applyUPre and
 applyUPost.  We could do
 applySPre :: Summary b v m -> QDiagram b v m -> QDiagram b v m
 applySPre s = (fmap . second) (s<>)

But note we can also give this a much more general type signature like

 applyUPre :: (Functor f, Semigroup s) => s -> f (t,s) -> f (t,s)

Not sure which is better.

In any case, we don't need any of the over _Wrapped stuff any more.

  • envelope is problematic. We had
 envelope :: forall b v m. (OrderedField (Scalar v), InnerSpace v ,
                           HasLinearMap v, Monoid' m) => Lens'
                           (QDiagram b v m) (Envelope v)

But this type won't work any more, because e.g. we can't simply extract an Envelope from a QDiagram. I suppose we could do

 ... Lens' (QDiagram b v m) (Contextual b v m (Envelope v))


  • trace and setTrace are similar.
  • Name stuff: think about monad, etc. subMap,
 names, nameSub, lookupName,
  • withName, withNameAll,
 withNames: should be able to simplify these to take
 advantage of monad.  Don't need to have them in CPS anymore.
  • query, sample, value
  • What is a subdiagram in this context? Should it store a transformation along with a context? Are subdiagrams still needed at all? Yes, I think so. The reason we had subdiagrams storing DownAnnots was so that you could ask where a subdiagram "ended up" with respect to a parent diagram. For this you need to know the transformation that was applied to it.