.. _view-patterns:
View patterns
-------------
.. extension:: ViewPatterns
:shortdesc: Enable view patterns.
:since: 6.10.1
Allow use of view pattern syntax.
View patterns are enabled by the language extension :extension:`ViewPatterns`. More
information and examples of view patterns can be found on the
:ghc-wiki:`Wiki page `.
View patterns are somewhat like pattern guards that can be nested inside
of other patterns. They are a convenient way of pattern-matching against
values of abstract types. For example, in a programming language
implementation, we might represent the syntax of the types of the
language as follows: ::
type Typ
data TypView = Unit
| Arrow Typ Typ
view :: Typ -> TypView
-- additional operations for constructing Typ's ...
The representation of Typ is held abstract, permitting implementations
to use a fancy representation (e.g., hash-consing to manage sharing).
Without view patterns, using this signature is a little inconvenient: ::
size :: Typ -> Integer
size t = case view t of
Unit -> 1
Arrow t1 t2 -> size t1 + size t2
It is necessary to iterate the case, rather than using an equational
function definition. And the situation is even worse when the matching
against ``t`` is buried deep inside another pattern.
View patterns permit calling the view function inside the pattern and
matching against the result: ::
size (view -> Unit) = 1
size (view -> Arrow t1 t2) = size t1 + size t2
That is, we add a new form of pattern, written ⟨expression⟩ ``->``
⟨pattern⟩ that means "apply the expression to whatever we're trying to
match against, and then match the result of that application against the
pattern". The expression can be any Haskell expression of function type,
and view patterns can be used wherever patterns are used.
The semantics of a pattern ``(`` ⟨exp⟩ ``->`` ⟨pat⟩ ``)`` are as
follows:
- Scoping:
The variables bound by the view pattern are the variables bound by
⟨pat⟩.
Any variables in ⟨exp⟩ are bound occurrences, but variables bound "to
the left" in a pattern are in scope. This feature permits, for
example, one argument to a function to be used in the view of another
argument. For example, the function ``clunky`` from
:ref:`pattern-guards` can be written using view patterns as follows: ::
clunky env (lookup env -> Just val1) (lookup env -> Just val2) = val1 + val2
...other equations for clunky...
More precisely, the scoping rules are:
- In a single pattern, variables bound by patterns to the left of a
view pattern expression are in scope. For example: ::
example :: Maybe ((String -> Integer,Integer), String) -> Bool
example (Just ((f,_), f -> 4)) = True
Additionally, in function definitions, variables bound by matching
earlier curried arguments may be used in view pattern expressions
in later arguments: ::
example :: (String -> Integer) -> String -> Bool
example f (f -> 4) = True
That is, the scoping is the same as it would be if the curried
arguments were collected into a tuple.
- In mutually recursive bindings, such as ``let``, ``where``, or the
top level, view patterns in one declaration may not mention
variables bound by other declarations. That is, each declaration
must be self-contained. For example, the following program is not
allowed: ::
let {(x -> y) = e1 ;
(y -> x) = e2 } in x
(For some amplification on this design choice see :ghc-ticket:`4061`.
- Typing: If ⟨exp⟩ has type ⟨T1⟩ ``->`` ⟨T2⟩ and ⟨pat⟩ matches a ⟨T2⟩,
then the whole view pattern matches a ⟨T1⟩.
- Matching: To the equations in Section 3.17.3 of the `Haskell 98
Report `__, add the following: ::
case v of { (e -> p) -> e1 ; _ -> e2 }
=
case (e v) of { p -> e1 ; _ -> e2 }
That is, to match a variable ⟨v⟩ against a pattern ``(`` ⟨exp⟩ ``->``
⟨pat⟩ ``)``, evaluate ``(`` ⟨exp⟩ ⟨v⟩ ``)`` and match the result
against ⟨pat⟩.
- Efficiency: When the same view function is applied in multiple
branches of a function definition or a case expression (e.g., in
``size`` above), GHC makes an attempt to collect these applications
into a single nested case expression, so that the view function is
only applied once. Pattern compilation in GHC follows the matrix
algorithm described in Chapter 4 of `The Implementation of Functional
Programming
Languages `__.
When the top rows of the first column of a matrix are all view
patterns with the "same" expression, these patterns are transformed
into a single nested case. This includes, for example, adjacent view
patterns that line up in a tuple, as in
::
f ((view -> A, p1), p2) = e1
f ((view -> B, p3), p4) = e2
The current notion of when two view pattern expressions are "the
same" is very restricted: it is not even full syntactic equality.
However, it does include variables, literals, applications, and
tuples; e.g., two instances of ``view ("hi", "there")`` will be
collected. However, the current implementation does not compare up to
alpha-equivalence, so two instances of ``(x, view x -> y)`` will not
be coalesced.