# Rewrite rules (GHC)

# Using rewrite rules on overloaded functions

In this question (opens new window), @Viclib asked about using rewrite rules to exploit typeclass laws to eliminate some overloaded function calls:

Mind the following class:

class ListIsomorphic l where
    toList    :: l a -> [a]
    fromList  :: [a] -> l a

I also demand that toList . fromList == id. How do I write rewrite rules to tell GHC to make that substitution?

This is a somewhat tricky use case for GHC's rewrite rules mechanism, because overloaded functions are rewritten into their specific instance methods (opens new window) by rules that are implicitly created behind the scenes by GHC (so something like fromList :: Seq a -> [a] would be rewritten into Seq$fromList etc.).

However, by first rewriting toList and fromList into non-inlined non-typeclass methods, we can protect them from premature rewriting (opens new window), and preserve them until the rule for the composition can fire:

  "protect toList"   toList = toList';
  "protect fromList" fromList = fromList';
  "fromList/toList"  forall x . fromList' (toList' x) = x; #-}

{-# NOINLINE [0] fromList' #-}
fromList' :: (ListIsomorphic l) => [a] -> l a
fromList' = fromList

{-# NOINLINE [0] toList' #-}
toList' :: (ListIsomorphic l) => l a -> [a]
toList' = toList