Recently I stumbled once again on the issues of Haskell's records, in particular the uniqueness of field names. (It's a pain...)

I already read A proposal for records in Haskell from SPJ and Greg Morrisett, but its last update was in 2003.
Another paper called Lightweight Extensible Records for Haskell from SPJ and Mark Jones is even older: It's from a Haskell workshop in 1999.

Now I'm wondering if the process of giving Haskell new records made any progress.
Does anybody know something about it or can anybody point me to some further reading?

  • I'm aware of Records in Haskell too but it doesn't show the discussion about the diffrent approaches.
    – mmh
    Sep 11, 2012 at 13:55
  • 3
    Everybody agrees that the current records are bad, nobody agrees on exactly what to do instead. In other words, business as usual. If you want further reading, there's certainly no shortage of endless debate on the matter, but I don't have time to dig up links right now... Sep 11, 2012 at 14:22
  • You might have better luck asking on the mailing lists.
    – Rufflewind
    Mar 26, 2017 at 22:25

2 Answers 2


My two pennies.

Believe it or not, Haskell is too much used to allow a breaking change with existing software. And it's difficult to add records withoud breaking an important part of the language.

UPDATE: BTW, I think that records are a good new feature. I like the most, not having members names polluting global namespace.

  • Can you clarify what would be broken by adding records? Does every popular proposal involve breaking something?
    – user39685
    Feb 5, 2013 at 15:57
  • The point (compose) operator will be used in most of proposals, so: a.b will be different
    – Zhen
    Feb 5, 2013 at 16:05
  • 3
    The other issue is that if you add a new record system, you can either get rid of the current one, which would be a breaking change, or have two record systems simultaneously, which would be a mess. I think the a.b issue is less important because A.b already means something different from A . b (thanks to the module system). Sure it's a breaking change, but it's not a particularly bad one. Feb 5, 2013 at 19:39

A proposal for "record dot syntax" has been accepted for GHC.

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