FunctorApplicativeMonad Proposal
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(GHC Proposal) 

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The standard class hierarchy is a consequence of Haskell's historical development, rather than logic. Theclass Functor f where map :: (a > b) > f a > f b class Functor f => Applicative f where return :: a > f a (<*>) :: f (a > b) > f a > f b (*>) :: f a > f b > f b (<*) :: f a > f b > f a class Applicative m => Monad m where (>>=) :: m a > (a > m b) > m b f >>= x = join $ map f x join :: m (m a) > m a join x = x >>= id class Monad m => MonadFail m where fail :: String > m a
Backward compatibility could be eased with a legacy module, such as:
module Legacy where fmap :: Functor f => (a > b) > f a > f b fmap = map liftA :: Applicative f => (a > b) > f a > f b liftA = map liftM :: Monad m => (a > b) > m a > m b liftM = map ap :: Monad m => m (a > b) > m a > m b ap = (<*>) (>>) :: Monad m => m a > m b > m b (>>) = (*>) concat :: [[a]] > [a] concat = join etc.
And for those who really want a list map,
listMap :: (a > b) > [a] > [b] listMap = map
Context alias would also be a great help with backwards compatibility. The class system extension proposal may also help.
Another variant might be to split aclass Pointed f where return :: a > f a class (Functor f, Pointed f) => Applicative f where (<*>) :: f (a > b) > f a > f b (*>) :: f a > f b > f b (<*) :: f a > f b > f a
1 GHC Proposal
A subset of this proposal has been formally proposed for GHC. The patches attached to the ticket make Applicative into a superclass of Monad, but does not deprecate any names.
Copied from the mailing list:
The patch for base makes a few changes:
1) Make Applicative a superclass of Monad. So the new hierarchy becomes:
class Functor f where fmap :: (a > b) > f a > f b (<$) :: a > f b > f a (<$) = fmap . const class Functor f => Applicative f where pure :: a > f a (<*>) :: f (a > b) > f a > f b (*>) :: f a > f b > f b a *> b = fmap (const id) a <*> b (<*) :: f a > f b > f a a <* b = fmap const a <*> b class Applicative m => Monad m where (>>=) :: forall a b. m a > (a > m b) > m b m >>= f = join $ fmap f m join :: m (m a) > m a join m = m >>= id (>>) :: forall a b. m a > m b > m b (>>) = (*>) return :: a > m a return = pure fail :: String > m a fail s = error s
2) Make 'join' a method of Monad.
3) Export Applicative(pure, (<*>), (*>), (<*)) from the Prelude. (Maybe we shouldn't export the (*>) and (<*) methods.)
4) Also export the join method from the Prelude.
5) Add Applicative instances for all monads in base.
6) Add a Monad instance for ((,) a): (There are already Functor and Applicative instances for it.)
instance Monoid a => Monad ((,) a) where (u, x) >>= f = let (v, y) = f x in (u `mappend` v, y)
(Maybe this one should be left out of the patch)
The patch for ghc simply adds Applicative instances for all monads in ghc. Also included in the ghc patch bundle are some refactoring patches that will make the transition easier:
 Added (<>) = mappend to compiler/utils/Util.hs.
 Add a Monoid instance for AGraph and remove the <*> splice operator.
Instead of <*>, the (<>) = mappend operator is now used to splice AGraphs. This change is needed because <*> clashes with the Applicative apply operator <*>, which is probably going to be exported from the Prelude when the new Monad hierarchy is going through. (Simply hiding <*> from the Prelude is also possible of course. However, I think this makes things easier to understand)
 Make SDoc an abstract newtype and add a Monoid instance for it.
The (<>) combinator of SDocs is removed and replaced by the more general (<>) = mappend combinator from Util.
Note that all the ghc patches can be applied independently of the base patch.
Now which notable things are not included in the patch for base:
 fmap is not renamed to map.
 return and (>>) are not removed as a method.
 fail is not removed as a method.
 All the liftM functions are not removed in favour of fmap and liftAs.
I think these are better left as separate proposals.
2 See also
 A similar proposal exist on the wiki: The Other Prelude