Version 1 (modified by adamgundry, 20 months ago) (diff)


Overloaded record fields: implementation notes

Here be dragons. This page describes implementation details and progress on the implementation of the overloaded record fields plan. Development of the extension is taking place on forks of the ghc and packages-base repositories (on branch 'overloaded-record-fields').

Upcoming changes

Typechecking a record datatype will still generates record selectors, but their names contain the name of their type. Additionally, a dictionary function (for the Has instance) is generated. Thus

data T = MkT { x :: Int }


$sel_x_T :: T -> Int      -- record selector (used to be called `x`)
$df_x_T  :: Has T "x" Int  -- dictionary function (coerced selector)

The dcFields field of DataCon.DataCon (constructor MkData) stores a list of FastString field names, rather than Names.

The AvailTC constructor of Avail.AvailInfo represents a type and its pieces that are in scope. Record fields are stored in a separate list (rather than bundled in with data constructors and class methods), which contains the FastString field name, and perhaps the names of the record selector and dictionary function.

Similarly, the RdrName.Parent type has an extra constructor FldParent which stores the field name and possibly the selector and dictionary function names. Thus it is easy to tell whether a RdrName.GlobalRdrElt (GRE) is a field.

The HsExpr.HsExpr type has an extra constructor HsOverloadedRecFld FastString. When -XOverloadedRecordFields is enabled, and the renamer encounters HsVar "x" where x refers to multiple GREs that are all record fields, it replaces it with HsOverloadedRecFld "x". (Is there any reason to treat single record fields differently to other ids?)

When the typechecker sees HsOverloadedRecFld x it emits a wanted constraint Has alpha x beta and returns type alpha -> beta where alpha and beta are fresh unification variables.

Automatic Has instances are generated, provided the extension is enabled, around the same time as derived instances (from deriving clauses) are generated. Every record field GRE in scope gives rise to an instance, and the dictionary function is already available. Such instances are available when typechecking the current module (in tcg_inst_env) but not exported to other modules (via tcg_insts).