# Avoiding partial functions

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(→init, last: import forcePair) |
(categories: style, idioms) |

## Revision as of 09:29, 7 June 2012

There are several partial functions in the Haskell standard library. If you use them, you always risk to end up with an undefined. In this article we give some hints how to avoid them, leading to code that you can be more confident about.

For a partial function f the general pattern is: Whereever we write "check whether x is in the domain of f before computing f x", we replace it by combination of check and computation of f.

## Contents |

## 1 fromJust

You should replace

if isNothing mx then g else h (fromJust mx)

by

case mx of Nothing -> g Just x -> h x

## 2 head, tail

You should replace

if null xs then g else h (head xs) (tail xs)

by

case xs of [] -> g y:ys -> h y ys

## 3 init, last

You may replace

if null xs then g else h (init xs) (last xs)

by

case xs of [] -> g y:ys -> uncurry h $ viewRTotal y ys viewRTotal :: a -> [a] -> ([a], a) viewRTotal x xs = forcePair $ foldr (\x0 go y -> case go y of ~(zs,z) -> (x0:zs,z)) (\y -> ([],y)) xs x forcePair :: (a,b) -> (a,b) forcePair ~(a,b) = (a,b)

viewRTotal

`Utility`

module.
You can import forcePair

## 4 (!!)

You should replace

if k < length xs then xs!!k else y

by

case drop k xs of x:_ -> x [] -> y

length

## 5 irrefutable pattern match on (:)

You should replace

if k < length xs then let (prefix,x:suffix) = splitAt k xs in g prefix x suffix else y

by

case splitAt k xs of (prefix,x:suffix) -> g prefix x suffix (_,[]) -> y

## 6 minimum

The functionisLowerLimit

minimum

isLowerLimit :: Ord a => a -> [a] -> Bool isLowerLimit x ys = x <= minimum ys

ys

You should replace it by

isLowerLimit x = all (x<=)

x

x

Thus it is also faster for finite lists. Even more: It also works for empty lists.