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Generic Haskell: practice and theory
 In Generic Programming, Advanced Lectures, volume 2793 of LNCS
, 2003
"... Abstract. Generic Haskell is an extension of Haskell that supports the construction of generic programs. These lecture notes describe the basic constructs of Generic Haskell and highlight the underlying theory. Generic programming aims at making programming more effective by making it more general. ..."
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Abstract. Generic Haskell is an extension of Haskell that supports the construction of generic programs. These lecture notes describe the basic constructs of Generic Haskell and highlight the underlying theory. Generic programming aims at making programming more effective by making it more general. Generic programs often embody nontraditional kinds of polymorphism. Generic Haskell is an extension of Haskell [38] that supports the construction of generic programs. Generic Haskell adds to Haskell the notion of structural polymorphism, the ability to define a function (or a type) by induction on the structure of types. Such a function is generic in the sense that it works not only for a specific type but for a whole class of types. Typical examples include equality, parsing and pretty printing, serialising, ordering, hashing, and so on. The lecture notes on Generic Haskell are organized into two parts. This first part motivates the need for genericity, describes the basic constructs of Generic Haskell, puts Generic Haskell into perspective, and highlights the underlying theory. The second part entitled “Generic Haskell: applications ” delves deeper into the language discussing three nontrivial applications of Generic Haskell: generic dictionaries, compressing XML documents, and a generic version of the zipper data type. The first part is organized as follows. Section 1 provides some background discussing type systems in general and the type system of Haskell in particular. Furthermore, it motivates the basic constructs of Generic Haskell. Section 2 takes a closer look at generic definitions and shows how to define some popular generic functions. Section 3 highlights the theory underlying Generic Haskell and discusses its implementation. Section 4 concludes. 1