Comparing libraries for generic programming in Haskell

Alexey Rodriguez, Johan Jeuring, Patrik Jansson, Alex Gerdes, Oleg Kiselyov, Bruno C.D.S. Oliveira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Datatype-generic programming is defining functions that depend on the structure, or "shape", of datatypes. It has been around for more than 10 years, and a lot of progress has been made, in particular in the lazy functional programming language Haskell. There are more than 10 proposals for generic programming libraries or language extensions for Haskell. To compare and characterise the many generic programming libraries in a typed functional language, we introduce a set of criteria and develop a generic programming benchmark: a set of characteristic examples testing various facets of datatype-generic programming. We have implemented the benchmark for nine existing Haskell generic programming libraries and present the evaluation of the libraries. The comparison is useful for reaching a common standard for generic programming, but also for a programmer who has to choose a particular approach for datatype-generic programming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-122
Number of pages12
JournalACM SIGPLAN Notices
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb


  • Datatype-generic programming
  • Libraries comparison


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