6.8.4. Constrained class method types


Allows the definition of further constraints on individual class methods.

Haskell 98 prohibits class method types to mention constraints on the class type variable, thus:

class Seq s a where
  fromList :: [a] -> s a
  elem     :: Eq a => a -> s a -> Bool

The type of elem is illegal in Haskell 98, because it contains the constraint Eq a, which constrains only the class type variable (in this case a). this case a). More precisely, a constraint in a class method signature is rejected if

  • The constraint mentions at least one type variable. So this is allowed:

    class C a where
      op1 :: HasCallStack => a -> a
      op2 :: (?x::Int) => Int -> a
  • All of the type variables mentioned are bound by the class declaration, and none is locally quantified. Examples:

    class C a where
      op3 :: Eq a => a -> a    -- Rejected: constrains class variable only
      op4 :: D b => a -> b     -- Accepted: constrains a locally-quantified variable `b`
      op5 :: D (a,b) => a -> b -- Accepted: constrains a locally-quantified variable `b`

GHC lifts this restriction with language extension ConstrainedClassMethods. The restriction is a pretty stupid one in the first place, so ConstrainedClassMethods is implied by MultiParamTypeClasses.