Haskell++ is an `object oriented' extension of Haskell, which
supports a form of inheritance via extended class and instance
declarations. In addition to ordinary Haskell classes, the Haskell++
programmer can declare `object classes' whose instances can inherit method
definitions from one another. For example, an object class Point may have
instances at types VanillaPoint and ColourPoint, and the ColourPoint instance
may inherit some of its methods from the VanillaPoint instance. Haskell++ is
described in detail in
Haskell++: An Object-Oriented Extension of Haskell, a joint paper with Jan Sparud which was presented
at the Haskell Workshop in June '95. For a more extensive example of its use,
there is a ray
tracing package developed as an undergraduate project.
implemented via a translator to Haskell, which can be fetched via this
page, and which is itself written in Haskell.To use Haskell++ you will
therefore need a Haskell implementation. Existential types can
be used in both Haskell and Haskell++ to type the dynamic binding of
object-oriented languages (see Läufer96),
and since you will almost certainly want to use dynamic binding you
ought to use a Haskell implementation that supports them.
translator is called h++, and can be invoked either with or without a
command-line argument. If the argument is present, for example foo,
then Haskell++ source is read from foo.h++ and the Haskell translation
is written to foo.hs. If no argument is given the translation works
from standard input to standard output.
The translator is a
prototype, and is rather `rough and ready'.
Nevertheless, even as it stands the translator can be quite useful!
- There are no error messages. If translation fails, look in the
translated output to see where the error occurred.
- The input isn't parsed in any real sense. Anything looking
roughly like a Haskell++ program will be translated into
something looking roughly like a Haskell program. Consequently
syntax errors in the input may simply give rise to syntax errors
in the output, and be reported by the Haskell compiler.
- The translator uses the layout rule to recognise the large
scale structure of the input. Don't use the
curlies-and-semicolons syntax; the translator won't understand
- The translator makes an attempt to strip comments, but will be
fooled by comment brackets in strings or single-line comments.
- As we explain in the paper, it should really be extended to
support implicit inheritance of methods not explicitly
If you still want it, you can fetch the source of the translator from
h++.hs. You will also need the parsing library it
uses, Parselib.hs, which is based on Graham
It's been updated to Haskell 98, and at least loads into Hugs, but has not
been thoroughly tested since the updates.
I'm interested to hear of experience in using Haskell++, positive or
negative. I'm especially interested to know whether Haskell++ is
sufficient powerful to represent interesting object-oriented programs
in practice, or whether further language extensions are needed.
I'm not particularly interested in discussing whether or not a
change in state is suitably represented by returning a new object. I
will accept bug reports for the translator, but I don't promise to do
anything with them!
Last modified: Mon Mar 26 11:24:51 MET DST 2001