Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An approximate type-based solution to the strings problem

As ever, neat ideas coded in Haskell can be almost but not quite ported to F#, foiled at the last moment by the fact that the .net type system cannot represent constructs that are expressed as Haskell type classes : there's always a run-time type coercion and some leakage of abstractions that have to be coded around.

One such is this idea of type-safe strings for representing structured data like XML -- which would require a little more mutually recursive and self-encapsulating type definitions than I think F# can manage. It gets close, though, and could probably be embellished a little further:


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