Fun with Haskell

What better way is there to spend a Saturday than playing with Haskell? I sure don’t know :-)

I do have a goal in mind, but for now I’m mostly fooling around with some file-related stuff.

First, I wanted to wanted to load an entire file and print it on stdout. Basically a primitive cat. I came up with the following main:

As you can see I did spend some time thinking about Monads lately. Something that’s especially pressing if one wants to do IO in Haskell since the IO Monad can’t be escaped from. Next catFile (which based on the use above should have the type FilePath -> IO [String]). I did some experimenting and searching in Hoogle among the System.IO functions. I found openFile, hGetContents that would let me open and read the file. I played a bit with that:

That doesn’t have quite the required type, but that isn’t the only problem. The combination of hGetContents and hClose doesn’t quite work—the file is never read (laziness in action!). I removed the hClose (since the process isn’t very long-lived that doesn’t bother me so much) and I added a lines:

Then I stumbled on readFile and rewrote it as

which can be written even shorter as

I guess it’s time to explain the reason for returning IO [String] rather than IO String. The latter would have simplified both catFile and main. What I really wanted was to make each line of a file an item in a set. My first thought was to fold it:

Which can be re-written in point-free style (I hope I’ve gotten point-free right here):

Then I decided to look into Data.Set and found fromList. My first naïve attempt and my point-free:

Then I reversed my thinking and tried to lift the function into the monad instead:

At that point I felt I had somewhat exhausted this particular little playground and went on to listing files and directories, but that’s a story for another post.

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