|Version 4 (modified by ross@…, 7 years ago)|
Instances are allowed to overlap, as long as there is a most specific one in any case. Contexts of instances play no part in testing for overlapping.
- Overlapping instances in the GHC User's Guide.
- Overlapping instances in the Hugs User's Guide.
Hugs compares instance declarations, while GHC delays tests until the instances are used.
- Hugs considers instances to be overlapping if they are unifiable, e.g.
instance C Int b instance C a BoolSimilarly the "most specific" test is applied to instances (though not as cleverly as it could be).
- GHC only requires -fallow-overlapping-instances if it needs to resolve a constraint that overlaps with both, e.g. C Int Char is fine, but C a Bool overlaps. Similarly a most specific instance is needed only for constraints encountered in type checking.
An alternative to what GHC implements would be to declare whether a class may be overlapping on a class by class basis, perhaps with something like
class overlapping Foo a where ...
- useful on occasion.
- including a new module can silently change behavior of a program.
- makes it very easy for incorrect programs to still typecheck
- can cause confusing error messages
- can sometimes be simulated with the extra-method trick used in the Show class of the prelude for showing lists of characters differently than lists of other things.