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Move Over Free Monads: Make Way for Free Applicatives! — John de Goes

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Published on Jan 11, 2016

In the Scala FP community, free monads are one of the fastest growing and hottest ways to compose programs from small, modular, interpretable languages. Yet, the trees described by free monads are dynamic: their structure depends on runtime values, which limit the types of analysis one can do on these trees. Free applicatives address this limitation by only permitting trees whose structure can be described statically, independent from runtime values.

In this talk, John shows how this tradeoff enables extremely powerful introspection and transformation of the very structure of a program, in ways that are completely impossible with free monads.

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