Comparing libraries for generic programming in haskell

Alexey Rodriguez, Johan Jeuring, Patrik Jansson, Alex Gerdes, Oleg Kiselyov, Bruno C. d. S. Oliveira. Comparing libraries for generic programming in haskell. In Andy Gill, editor, Proceedings of the 1st ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Haskell, Haskell 2008, Victoria, BC, Canada, 25 September 2008. pages 111-122, ACM, 2008. [doi]


Datatype-generic programming is defining functions that depend on the structure, or “shape”, of datatypes. It has been around for more than 10 years, and a lot of progress has been made, in particular in the lazy functional programming language Haskell. There are morethan 10 proposals for generic programming libraries orlanguage extensions for Haskell. To compare and characterise the many generic programming libraries in atyped functional language, we introduce a set of criteria and develop a generic programming benchmark: a set of characteristic examples testing various facets of datatype-generic programming. We have implemented the benchmark for nine existing Haskell generic programming libraries and present the evaluation of the libraries. The comparison is useful for reaching a common standard for generic programming, but also for a programmer who has to choose a particular approach for datatype-generic programming.