Surgery for generic data types

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MIT licensed by Li-yao Xia
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Surgery for generic data types Hackage Build Status

Modify, add, or remove constructors and fields in generic types, to be used with generic implementations.


Here is a simple record type equipped with a checksum function:

data Foo = Foo { x, y, z :: Int }
  deriving (Eq, Generic, Show)

checksum :: Foo -> Checksum

Let’s encode it as a JSON object with an extra "checksum" key, looking like this, where X, Y, Z are integers:

{ "x": X
, "y": Y
, "z": Z
, "checksum": X + Y + Z

We use genericParseJSON/genericToJSON to convert between JSON values and a generic 4-field record, and removeRField/insertRField to convert between that generic 4-field record and the 3-field Foo.

Remove field

When decoding, we check the checksum and then throw it away.

instance FromJSON Foo where
  parseJSON v = do

    r <- genericParseJSON defaultOptions v
    -- r: a generic 4-field record {x,y,z,checksum} (checksum at index 3).

    let (cs, f) = (fmap fromOR . removeRField @"checksum" @3 . toOR') r
    -- removeRField @"checksum" @3: split out the checksum field
    -- from the three other fields. (cs, f) :: (Checksum, Foo)

    if checksum f == cs then
      pure f
      fail "Checksum failed"

Insert field

When encoding, we must compute the checksum to write it out. We put the checksum in a pair (checksum f, f) with the original record, and insertRField can then wrap it into a 4-field record passed into genericToJSON.

instance ToJSON Foo where
  toJSON f =
    (genericToJSON defaultOptions . fromOR' . insertRField @"checksum" @3 . fmap toOR)
      (checksum f, f)

See also the examples/ directory in the source repo.


  • Compatibility with generic-data
  • Removed onData (moved to generic-data

Initial version

Depends on 3 packages:
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