javran is working on extending :info to support more general cases (as requested in #9394), here is the detail of my plan.


Current implementation of :info <things> of GHCi simply splits whatever in <things> and prints information for each of them in order. The motivation is to extend :info to parse info query better and support searching data / type family instances.

Design of New :info Syntax

  • Keep the old behavior that if you input multiple queries, all of them are executed in sequence. For example :info Int Char has the same behavior as before, :info Int (Foo Bar) first searches things regarding Int and then things related to type application Foo Bar.
  • When ( is present, expect a type and a closing ) (type can contain holes to serve as wildcards), after parsing this type, we search it against instances related (not sure about the detail, maybe some type checking facilities will do)
  • There are some special cases where ( can also begin a regular query: (), (,), (,,,), they are treated in the old way.

Dealing With More General Queries

Most of the following are copied from s9gf4ult comments on #9394, as I myself am still new to some of those concepts. Hopefully I'll make myself comfortable with them when getting into details

  • Finite typeclass application: For finite typeclass application we can print detailed information about specific instance, for example :info (Eq Int) must print assigned type/data families, module where instance is defined, maybe something else.
  • Finite data type: as application type parameters to ordinary data type with parameters. Here we can print the same as for other finite type like Int
  • Finite data family application: print information like for any other finite type, or, if type is not finite
  • Finite type family application: print type assigned to this type family.


I'll like to split the plan into multiple steps, a rough plan is to first aim for querying data/type family instances while getting to detailed plan about handling more general cases.

Last modified 4 years ago Last modified on Dec 18, 2015 5:28:59 PM