Image logo Bob conference 2019.

Talk: 11:45-12:30 (English)

Joachim Breitner

Inspection Testing

A Promise Checked is a Promise Kept

Some high-quality Haskell libraries, including old friends like text and new kids on the block like generic-lens, promise that the abstractions provided by these libraries are actually free and will be completely dissolved by the compiler. In the case of text the promise is that certain pipelines of text-processing functions will be optimizes (“fused”) to never allocate a full text value; generic-lens promises that its generically derived lenses are, after optimization, identical to handwritten ones.

But, in practice, these promises often don’t hold. They held at some point in the past, when the author checked them manually, but later versions regressed.

This problem can be fixed with inspection-testing, a Haskell library and plugin to the compiler that allows you to explicitly state what you expect from the compilers optimizations, and have the compiler check that it actually happens. This can be used by library authors to test their promises, but also by users to learn more about what the compiler does with their code.

In this talk, you will discover the tale of broken promises in commonly used Haskell libraries, and you will learn how these promises can be checked automatically using inspection-testing.

Joachim Breitner

Ever since Joachim Breitner got infected with the Haskell fever in 2005, he has been an active part of the community, with many contributions to GHC, and lately, has been driving the GHC proposal process. He obtained a PhD in Karlsruhe, Germany, for the inception and formal verification of the Call Arity program transformation, has worked as a post-doc with Stephanie Weirich at the University of Pennsylvania to make formal verification of Haskell practical, and is now riding the blockchain bandwagon and makes sure that DFINITY is going to be a great platform from a programming languages point of view.

Also, talk to Joachim if you want to go swing dancing after the event.