# Haskell Style Guide

This document is a slightly modified version of style guide used in Kowainik (opens new window).

# Style guide goals

The purpose of this document is to help developers and people working on Haskell code-bases to have a smoother experience while dealing with code in different situations. This style guide aims to increase productivity by defining the following goals:

  1. Make code easier to understand: ideas for solutions should not be hidden behind complex and obscure code.
  2. Make code easier to read: code arrangement should be immediately apparent after looking at the existing code. Names of functions & variables should be transparent and obvious.
  3. Make code easier to write: developers should think about code formatting rules as little as possible. The style guide should answer any query pertaining to the formatting of a specific piece of code.
  4. Make code easier to maintain: this style guide aims to reduce the burden of maintaining packages using version control systems unless this conflicts with the previous points.

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"Rule of thumb when working with existing source code" The general rule is to stick to the same coding style that is already used in the file you are editing. If you must make significant style modifications, then commit them independently from the functional changes so that someone looking back through the changelog can easily distinguish between them.

# Indentation

Indent code blocks with 2 spaces.

Always put a where keyword on a new line.

showSign :: Int -> String
showSign n
  | n == 0    = "Zero"
  | n < 0     = "Negative"
  | otherwise = "Positive"

greet :: IO ()
greet = do
  putStrLn "What is your name?"
  name <- getLine
  putStrLn $ greeting name
  where
    greeting :: String -> String
    greeting name = "Hey " ++ name ++ "!"
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# Line length

The maximum preferred line length is 80 characters.

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There is no hard rules when it comes to line length. Some lines just have to be a bit longer than usual. However, if your line of code exceeds this limit, try to split code into smaller chunks or break long lines over multiple shorter ones as much as you can.

# Whitespaces

No trailing whitespaces (use some tools to automatically cleanup trailing whitespaces).

Surround binary operators with a single space on either side.

# Alignment

Use comma-leading style for formatting module exports, lists, tuples, records, etc.

answers :: [Maybe Int]
answers =
  [ Just 42
  , Just 7
  , Nothing
  ]
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If a function definition doesn't fit the line limit then align multiple lines according to the same separator like ::, =>, ->.

-- + Good
printQuestion
  :: Show a
  => Text  -- ^ Question text
  -> [a]   -- ^ List of available answers
  -> IO ()

-- + Acceptable if function name is short
fun :: Show a
    => Text  -- ^ Question text
    -> [a]   -- ^ List of available answers
    -> IO ()
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Align records with every field on a separate line with leading commas.

-- + Good
data Foo = Foo
  { fooBar  :: Bar
  , fooBaz  :: Baz
  , fooQuux :: Quux
  } deriving (Eq, Show, Generic)
    deriving anyclass (FromJSON, ToJSON)

-- + Acceptable
data Foo =
  Foo { fooBar  :: Bar
      , fooBaz  :: Baz
      , fooQuux :: Quux
      } deriving (Eq, Show, Generic)
        deriving anyclass (FromJSON, ToJSON)
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Align sum types with every constructor on its own line with leading = and |.

-- + Good
data TrafficLight
  = Red
  | Yellow
  | Green
  deriving (Eq, Ord, Enum, Bounded, Show, Read)

-- + Acceptable
data TrafficLight = Red
                  | Yellow
                  | Green
  deriving (Eq, Ord, Enum, Bounded, Show, Read)
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Try to follow the above rule inside function definitions but without fanatism:

-- + Good
createFoo = Foo
  <$> veryLongBar
  <*> veryLongBaz

-- + Acceptable
createFoo = Foo
        <$> veryLongBar
        <*> veryLongBaz

-- + Acceptable
createFoo =
  Foo <$> veryLongBar
      <*> veryLongBaz

-- - Bad
createFoo = Foo <$> veryLongBar
                <*> veryLongBaz

-- - Bad
createFoo =
  Foo  -- there's no need to put the constructor on a separate line and have an extra line
  <$> veryLongBar
  <*> veryLongBaz
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Basically, it is often possible to join consequent lines without introducing alignment dependency. Try not to span multiple short lines unnecessarily.

If a function application must spawn multiple lines to fit within the maximum line length, then write one argument on each line following the head, indented by one level:

veryLongProductionName
  firstArgumentOfThisFunction
  secondArgumentOfThisFunction
  (DummyDatatype withDummyField1 andDummyField2)
  lastArgumentOfThisFunction
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# Naming

# Functions and variables

  • lowerCamelCase for function and variable names.
  • UpperCamelCase for data types, typeclasses and constructors.

Variant

Use ids_with_underscores for local variables only.

Try not to create new operators.

-- What does this 'mouse operator' mean? :thinking_suicide:
(~@@^>) :: Functor f => (a -> b) -> (a -> c -> d) -> (b -> f c) -> a -> f d
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Do not use ultra-short or indescriptive names like a, par, g unless the types of these variables are general enough.

-- + Good
mapSelect :: forall a . (a -> Bool) -> (a -> a) -> (a -> a) -> [a] -> [a]
mapSelect test ifTrue ifFalse = go
  where
    go :: [a] -> [a]
    go [] = []
    go (x:xs) =
      if test x
         then ifTrue  x : go xs
         else ifFalse x : go xs

-- - Bad
mapSelect :: forall a . (a -> Bool) -> (a -> a) -> (a -> a) -> [a] -> [a]
mapSelect p f g = go
  where
    go :: [a] -> [a]
    go [] = []
    go (x:xs) =
      if p x
         then f x : go xs
         else g x : go xs
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Do not introduce unnecessarily long names for variables.

-- + Good
map :: (a -> b) -> [a] -> [b]
map _ []     = []
map f (x:xs) = f x : map f xs

-- - Bad
map :: (a -> b) -> [a] -> [b]
map _ [] = []
map function (firstElement:remainingList) =
    function firstElement : map function remainingList
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For readability reasons, do not capitalize all letters when using an abbreviation as a part of a longer name. For example, write TomlException instead of TOMLException.

Unicode symbols are allowed only in modules that already use unicode symbols. If you create a unicode name, you should also create a non-unicode one as an alias.

# Data types

Creating data types is extremely easy in Haskell. It is usually a good idea to introduce a custom data type (enum or newtype) instead of using a commonly used data type (like Int, String, Set Text, etc.).

type aliases are allowed only for specializing general types:

-- + Good
data StateT s m a
type State s = StateT s Identity

-- - Bad
type Size = Int
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Use the data type name as the constructor name for data with single constructor and newtype.

data User = User Int String
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The field name for a newtype must be prefixed by un followed by the type name.

newtype Size = Size { unSize :: Int }
newtype App a = App { unApp :: ReaderT Context IO a }
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Field names for the record data type should start with the full name of the data type.

-- + Good
data HealthReading = HealthReading
  { healthReadingDate        :: UTCTime
  , healthReadingMeasurement :: Double
  }
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It is acceptable to use an abbreviation as the field prefix if the data type name is too long.

-- + Acceptable
data HealthReading = HealthReading
  { hrDate        :: UTCTime
  , hrMeasurement :: Double
  }
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# Comments

Separate end-of-line comments from the code with 2 spaces.

newtype Measure = Measure
  { unMeasure :: Double  -- ^ See how 2 spaces separate this comment
  }
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Write Haddock documentation (opens new window) for the top-level functions, function arguments and data type fields. The documentation should give enough information to apply the function without looking at its definition.

-- | Single-line short comment.
foo :: Int -> [a] -> [a]

-- | Example of multi-line block comment which is very long
-- and doesn't fit single line.
foo :: Int -> [a] -> [a]

-- + Good
-- | 'replicate' @n x@ returns list of length @n@ with @x@ as the value of
-- every element. This function is lazy in its returned value.
replicate
  :: Int  -- ^ Length of returned list
  -> a    -- ^ Element to populate list
  -> [a]

-- - Bad
-- | 'replicate' @n x@ returns list of length @n@ with @x@ as the value of
-- every element. This function is lazy in its returned value.
replicate
  :: Int  -- ^ Length of returned list
  {- | Element to populate list -}
  -> a
  -> [a]
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If possible, include typeclass laws and function usage examples into the documentation.

-- | The class of semigroups (types with an associative binary operation).
--
-- Instances should satisfy the associativity law:
--
-- * @x '<>' (y '<>' z) = (x '<>' y) '<>' z@
class Semigroup a where
  (<>) :: a -> a -> a

-- | The 'intersperse' function takes a character and places it
-- between the characters of a 'Text'.
--
-- >>> T.intersperse '.' "SHIELD"
-- "S.H.I.E.L.D"
intersperse :: Char -> Text -> Text
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# Guideline for module formatting

Allowed tools for automatic module formatting:

# LANGUAGE

Put OPTIONS_GHC pragma before LANGUAGE pragmas in a separate section. Write each LANGUAGE pragma on its own line, sort them alphabetically and align by max width among them.

{-# OPTIONS_GHC -fno-warn-orphans #-}

{-# LANGUAGE ApplicativeDo       #-}
{-# LANGUAGE ScopedTypeVariables #-}
{-# LANGUAGE TypeApplications    #-}
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Always put language extensions in the relevant source file.

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Language extensions must be listed at the very top of the file, above the module name.

# Export lists

Use the following rules to format the export section:

  1. Always write an explicit export list.
  2. Indent the export list by 2 spaces.
  3. You can split the export list into sections. Use Haddock to assign names to these sections.
  4. Classes, data types and type aliases should be written before functions in each section.
module Map
  ( -- * Data type
    Map
  , Key
  , empty

    -- * Update
  , insert
  , insertWith
  , alter
  ) where
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# Imports

Always use explicit import lists or qualified imports. Use qualified imports only if the import list is big enough or there are conflicts in names. This makes the code more robust against changes in dependent libraries.

  • Exception: modules that only reexport other entire modules.

Imports should be grouped in the following order:

  1. Imports from Hackage packages.
  2. Imports from the current project.

Put a blank line between each group of imports.

The imports in each group should be sorted alphabetically by module name.

module MyProject.Foo
  ( Foo (..)
  ) where

import           Control.Exception   (catch, try)
import qualified Data.Aeson          as Json
import qualified Data.Text           as Text
import           Data.Traversable    (for)

import           MyProject.Ansi      (errorMessage, infoMessage)
import qualified MyProject.BigModule as Big

data Foo
...
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# Data declaration

Refer to the Alignment section to see how to format data type declarations.

Records for data types with multiple constructors are forbidden.

-- - Bad
data Foo
  = Bar { bar1 :: Int, bar2 :: Double }
  | Baz { baz1 :: Int, baz2 :: Double, baz3 :: Text }

-- + Good
data Foo
  = FooBar Bar
  | FooBaz Baz

data Bar = Bar { bar1 :: Int, bar2 :: Double }
data Baz = Baz { baz1 :: Int, baz2 :: Double, baz3 :: Text }

-- + Also good
data Foo
  = Bar Int Double
  | Baz Int Double Text
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# Strictness

Fields of data type constructors should be strict. Specify strictness explicitly with !. This helps to avoid space leaks and gives you an error instead of a warning in case you forget to initialize some fields.

-- + Good
data Settings = Settings
  { settingsHasTravis  :: !Bool
  , settingsConfigPath :: !FilePath
  , settingsRetryCount :: !Int
  }

-- - Bad
data Settings = Settings
  { settingsHasTravis  :: Bool
  , settingsConfigPath :: FilePath
  , settingsRetryCount :: Int
  }
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# Deriving

Type classes in the deriving section should always be surrounded by parentheses. Don't derive typeclasses unnecessarily.

Use -XDerivingStrategies (opens new window) extension for newtypes to explicitly specify the way you want to derive type classes:

{-# LANGUAGE DeriveAnyClass             #-}
{-# LANGUAGE DerivingStrategies         #-}
{-# LANGUAGE GeneralizedNewtypeDeriving #-}

newtype Id a = Id { unId :: Int }
  deriving stock    (Generic)
  deriving newtype  (Eq, Ord, Show, Hashable)
  deriving anyclass (FromJSON, ToJSON)
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# Function declaration

All top-level functions must have type signatures.

All functions inside a where block must have type signatures. Explicit type signatures help to avoid cryptic type errors.

You might need the -XScopedTypeVariables extension to write the polymorphic types of functions inside a where block.

Surround . after forall in type signatures with spaces.

lookup :: forall a f . Typeable a => TypeRepMap f -> Maybe (f a)
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If the function type signature is very long, then place the type of each argument under its own line with respect to alignment.

sendEmail
  :: forall env m .
     ( MonadLog m
     , MonadEmail m
     , WithDb env m
     )
  => Email
  -> Subject
  -> Body
  -> Template
  -> m ()
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If the line with argument names is too big, then put each argument on its own line and separate it somehow from the body section.

sendEmail
  toEmail
  subject@(Subject subj)
  body
  Template{..}  -- default body variables
  = do
    <code goes here>
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In other cases, place an = sign on the same line where the function definition is.

Put operator fixity before operator signature:

-- | Flipped version of '<$>'.
infixl 1 <&>
(<&>) :: Functor f => f a -> (a -> b) -> f b
as <&> f = f <$> as
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Put pragmas immediately following the function they apply to.

-- | Lifted version of 'T.putStrLn'.
putTextLn :: MonadIO m => Text -> m ()
putTextLn = liftIO . Text.putStrLn
{-# INLINE putTextLn #-}
{-# SPECIALIZE putTextLn :: Text -> IO () #-}
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In case of data type definitions, you must put the pragma before the type it applies to. Example:

data TypeRepMap (f :: k -> Type) = TypeRepMap
  { fingerprintAs :: {-# UNPACK #-} !(PrimArray Word64)
  , fingerprintBs :: {-# UNPACK #-} !(PrimArray Word64)
  , trAnys        :: {-# UNPACK #-} !(Array Any)
  , trKeys        :: {-# UNPACK #-} !(Array Any)
  }
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# if-then-else clauses

Prefer guards over if-then-else where possible.

-- + Good
showParity :: Int -> Bool
showParity n
  | even n    = "even"
  | otherwise = "odd"

-- - Meh
showParity :: Int -> Bool
showParity n =
  if even n
     then "even"
     else "odd"
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In the code outside do-blocks you can align if-then-else clauses like you would normal expressions:

shiftInts :: [Int] -> [Int]
shiftInts = map $ \n -> if even n then n + 1 else n - 1
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# Case expressions

Align the -> arrows in the alternatives when it helps readability.

-- + Good
firstOrDefault :: [a] -> a -> a
firstOrDefault list def = case list of
  []  -> def
  x:_ -> x

-- - Bad
foo :: IO ()
foo = getArgs >>= \case
  []                      -> do
      putStrLn "No arguments provided"
      runWithNoArgs
  firstArg:secondArg:rest -> do
      putStrLn $ "The first argument is " ++ firstArg
      putStrLn $ "The second argument is " ++ secondArg
  _                       -> pure ()
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Use the -XLambdaCase extension when you perform pattern matching over the last argument of the function:

fromMaybe :: a -> Maybe a -> a
fromMaybe v = \case
  Nothing -> v
  Just x  -> x
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# let expressions

Write every let-binding on a new line:

isLimitedBy :: Integer -> Natural -> Bool
isLimitedBy n limit =
  let intLimit = toInteger limit
   in n <= intLimit
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Put a let before each variable inside a do block.

# General recommendations

Try to split code into separate modules.

Avoid abusing point-free style. Sometimes code is clearer when not written in point-free style:

-- + Good
foo :: Int -> a -> Int
foo n x = length $ replicate n x

-- - Bad
foo :: Int -> a -> Int
foo = (length . ) . replicate
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Code should be compilable with the following ghc options without warnings:

  • -Wall
  • -Wincomplete-uni-patterns
  • -Wincomplete-record-updates
  • -Wcompat
  • -Widentities
  • -Wredundant-constraints
  • -Wmissing-export-lists
  • -Wpartial-fields

Enable -fhide-source-paths and -freverse-errors for cleaner compiler output.

Use -XApplicativeDo in combination with -XRecordWildCards to prevent position-sensitive errors where possible.