base-compat: A compatibility layer for base

[ compatibility, library, mit ] [ Propose Tags ]

Provides functions available in later versions of base to a wider range of compilers, without requiring you to use CPP pragmas in your code. See the README for what is covered. Also see the changelog for recent changes.

Note that base-compat does not add any orphan instances. There is a separate package, base-orphans, for that.

In addition, base-compat does not backport any data types or type classes. See this section of the README for more info.

base-compat is designed to have zero dependencies. For a version of base-compat that depends on compatibility libraries for a wider support window, see the base-compat-batteries package. Most of the modules in this library have the same names as in base-compat-batteries to make it easier to switch between the two. There also exist versions of each module with the suffix .Repl, which are distinct from anything in base-compat-batteries, to allow for easier use in GHCi.

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Change log CHANGES.markdown
Dependencies base (>=4.3 && <5), ghc-prim, unix [details]
License MIT
Copyright (c) 2012-2018 Simon Hengel, (c) 2014-2018 João Cristóvão, (c) 2015-2018 Ryan Scott
Author Simon Hengel <>, João Cristóvão <>, Ryan Scott <>
Maintainer Simon Hengel <>, João Cristóvão <>, Ryan Scott <>
Category Compatibility
Source repo head: git clone
Uploaded by ryanglscott at 2024-04-30T15:40:49Z
Distributions Arch:0.12.2, Debian:0.11.1, Fedora:0.12.3, LTSHaskell:0.13.1, NixOS:0.13.1, Stackage:0.13.1, openSUSE:0.13.1
Reverse Dependencies 164 direct, 8079 indirect [details]
Downloads 209676 total (765 in the last 30 days)
Rating 2.0 (votes: 1) [estimated by Bayesian average]
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Last success reported on 2024-04-30 [all 1 reports]

Readme for base-compat-0.14.0

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A compatibility layer for base

Hackage Hackage Dependencies Haskell Programming Language BSD3 License


The scope of base-compat is to provide functions available in later versions of base to a wider (older) range of compilers.

In addition, successful library proposals that have been accepted to be part of upcoming versions of base are also included. This package is not intended to replace base, but to complement it.

Note that base-compat does not add any orphan instances. There is a separate package base-orphans for that.

In addition, base-compat only backports functions. In particular, we purposefully do not backport data types or type classes introduced in newer versions of base. For more info, see the Data types and type classes section.

base-compat is intentionally designed to have zero dependencies. As a consequence, there are some modules that can only be backported up to certain versions of base. If an even wider support window is desired in these scenarios, there also exists a base-compat-batteries package which augments base-compat with certain compatibility package dependencies. For more info, see the Dependencies section.

Basic usage

In your cabal file, you should have something like this:

  build-depends:      base              >= 4.3
                    , base-compat       >= 0.9.0

Then, lets say you want to use the isRight function introduced with base- Replace:

import Data.Either


import Data.Either.Compat

Note (1): There is no need to import both unqualified. The .Compat modules re-exports the original module.

Note (2): If a given module .Compat version is not defined, that either means that:

  • The module has not changed in recent base versions, thus no .Compat is needed.
  • The module has changed, but the changes depend on newer versions of GHC, and thus are not portable.
  • The module has changed, but those changes have not yet been merged in base-compat: patches are welcomed!

Using Prelude.Compat

If you want to use Prelude.Compat (which provides all the AMP/Traversable/Foldable changes from base-, it's best to hide Prelude, e.g.:

import Prelude ()
import Prelude.Compat

main :: IO ()
main = mapM_ print (Just 23)

Alternatively, you can use the NoImplicitPrelude language extension:

{-# LANGUAGE NoImplicitPrelude #-}
import Prelude.Compat

main :: IO ()
main = mapM_ print (Just 23)

Note that we use

mapM_ :: (Foldable t, Monad m) => (a -> m b) -> t a -> m ()

from Data.Foldable here, which is only exposed from Prelude since base-

Using this approach allows you to write code that works seamlessly with all versions of GHC that are supported by base-compat.

What is covered

So far the following is covered.

For compatibility with the latest released version of base

  • Prelude.Compat incorporates the AMP/Foldable/Traversable changes and exposes the same interface as Prelude from base-
  • System.IO.Error.catch is not re-exported from Prelude.Compat for older versions of base
  • Text.Read.Compat.readMaybe
  • Text.Read.Compat.readEither
  • Data.Monoid.Compat.<>
  • Added bitDefault, testBitDefault, popCountDefault, (.^.), (.>>.), (.<<.), (!>>.), and (!<<.) to Data.Bits.Compat
  • Added toIntegralSized and oneBits to Data.Bits.Compat (if using base-4.7 or later)
  • Added bool function to Data.Bool.Compat
  • Added isLeft, isRight, fromLeft, and fromRight to Data.Either.Compat
  • Added forkFinally to Control.Concurrent.Compat
  • Added withMVarMasked function to Control.Concurrent.MVar.Compat
  • Added (<$!>) function to Control.Monad.Compat
  • Weakened RealFloat constraints on realPart, imagPart, conjugate, mkPolar, and cis in Data.Complex.Compat
  • Added more efficient maximumBy/minimumBy to Data.Foldable.Compat
  • Added ($>) and void functions to Data.Functor.Compat
  • (&) and applyWhen functions to Data.Function.Compat
  • ($>) and void functions to Data.Functor.Compat
  • modifyIORef', atomicModifyIORef' and atomicWriteIORef to Data.IORef.Compat
  • dropWhileEnd, isSubsequenceOf, sortOn, and uncons functions to Data.List.Compat
  • Correct versions of nub, nubBy, union, and unionBy to Data.List.Compat
  • asProxyTypeOf with a generalized type signature to Data.Proxy.Compat
  • modifySTRef' to Data.STRef.Compat
  • String, lines, words, unlines, and unwords to Data.String.Compat
  • gcoerceWith to Data.Type.Coercion.Compat
  • makeVersion function to Data.Version.Compat
  • traceId, traceShowId, traceM, traceShowM, traceWith, traceShowWith, and traceEventWith functions to Debug.Trace.Compat
  • byteSwap16, byteSwap32, and byteSwap64 to Data.Word.Compat
  • plusForeignPtr to Foreign.ForeignPtr.Compat
  • calloc and callocBytes functions to Foreign.Marshal.Alloc.Compat
  • callocArray and callocArray0 functions to Foreign.Marshal.Array.Compat
  • fillBytes to Foreign.Marshal.Utils.Compat
  • Added Data.List.Compat.scanl'
  • showFFloatAlt, showGFloatAlt, readBin, and showBin to Numeric.Compat
  • lookupEnv, setEnv and unsetEnv to System.Environment.Compat
  • unsafeFixIO and unsafeDupablePerformIO to System.IO.Unsafe.IO
  • RuntimeRep-polymorphic ($!) to Prelude.Compat
  • liftA2 is re-exported from Prelude.Compat
  • foldl' is re-exported from Prelude.Compat
  • RuntimeRep-polymorphic throw to Control.Exception.Compat
  • isResourceVanishedError, resourceVanishedErrorType, and isResourceVanishedErrorType to System.IO.Error.Compat
  • singleton to Data.List.Compat and Data.List.NonEmpty.Compat
  • inits1 and tails1 to Data.List.NonEmpty.Compat
  • permutations, permutations1, and sortOn to Data.List.NonEmpty.Compat
  • hGetContents', getContents', and readFile' to System.IO.Compat
  • readBinP to Text.Read.Lex.Compat
  • withTypeable and pattern TypeRep to Type.Reflection.Compat
  • minusNaturalMaybe to Numeric.Natural.Compat
  • mapAccumM and forAccumM to Data.Traversable.Compat
  • heqT to Data.Typeable.Compat
  • unzip to Data.Functor.Compat
  • (!?) and unsnoc to Data.List.Compat
  • List to Data.List.Compat (when building with GHC 9.6 or later)
  • getSolo to Data.Tuple.Compat
  • decT and hdecT to Data.Typeable.Compat
  • decTypeRep to Type.Reflection.Compat

What is not covered

Data types and type classes

base-compat purposefully does not export any data types or type classes that were introduced in more recent versions of base. The main reasoning for this policy is that it is not some data types and type classes have had their APIs change in different versions of base, which makes having a consistent compatibility API for them practically impossible.

As an example, consider the FiniteBits type class. It was introduced in base- with the following API:

class Bits b => FiniteBits b where
    finiteBitSize :: b -> Int

However, in base-, FiniteBits gained additional functions:

class Bits b => FiniteBits b where
    finiteBitSize :: b -> Int
    countLeadingZeros :: b -> Int   -- ^ @since
    countTrailingZeros :: b -> Int  -- ^ @since

This raises the question: how can FiniteBits be backported consistently across all versions of base? One approach is to backport the API exposed in base- on versions prior to The problem with this is that countLeadingZeros and countTrailingZeros are not exposed in base-, so instances of FiniteBits would have to be declared like this:

instance FiniteBits Foo where
    finiteBitSize = ...
#if MIN_VERSION_base(4,8,0) || !(MIN_VERSION_base(4,7,0))
    countLeadingZeros = ...
    countTrailingZeros = ...

Another approach is to backport the API from base- and to declare additional methods outside of the class:

#if MIN_VERSION_base(4,7,0) && !(MIN_VERSION_base(4,8,0))
countLeadingZeros :: FiniteBits b => b -> Int
countLeadingZeros = {- default implementation #-}

The situation is only slightly better for classes which exist across all versions of base, but have grown their API. For example, it's tempting to define

#if !(MIN_VERSION_base(4,8,0))
displayException :: Exception e => e -> String
displayException = show

As with the previous approach, you won't be able to define new members of the type class without CPP guards. In other words, the non-CPP approach would limit uses to the lowest common denominator.

As neither approach is a very satisfactory solution, and to embrace consistency, we do not pursue either approach. For similar reasons, we do not backport data types.


base-compat is designed to have zero dependencies (besides libraries that ship with GHC itself). A consequence of this choice is that there are certain modules that have a "limited" support window. An important example of this is Prelude.Compat, which backports the Semigroup class to versions of base older than 4.11 (when it was added to the Prelude). Because Semigroup was not added to base until base-4.9, base-compat cannot backport it to any earlier version of base than this.

If you would instead desire to be able to use a version of Prelude.Compat that does backport Semigroup to even older versions of base, even if it means pulling in other dependencies, then you are in luck. There also exists a base-compat-batteries package, which exposes a strict superset of the API in base-compat. base-compat-batteries has all the same modules as base-compat, but exposes more functionality on more versions of base by reexporting things from compatibility libraries whenever necessary. (For instance, base-compat-batteries exports the Semigroup class from the semigroups library when built against versions of base older than 4.9.)

Because base-compat and base-compat-batteries have the same module names, they are quite easy to switch out for one another in library projects, at the expense of having clashing names if one tries to import them in GHCi. To work around this issue, base-compat and base-compat-batteries also provide copies of each module with the suffix .Repl (for base-compat) and .Repl.Batteries (for base-compat-batteries) to give them globally unique namespaces in the event one wants to import them into GHCi.

Here is a list of compatibility libraries that base-compat-batteries depends on, paired with the things that each library backports:

Version policy

This package follows the Haskell Package Versioning Policy. As such, if a new base-compat release only adds new exports, then as a general rule, we will release it with a minor version bump. Moreover, since base-compat does not backport data type or class definitions (see the "What is not covered" section above), base-compat usually has fewer major version bumps than base itself.

An exception to the general rule about adding new exports is the Prelude.Compat module. If a new base-compat release adds any new exports, then it will always be accompanied by a major version bump, even if there are no other API changes. This is because of the special nature of Prelude.Compat, which is designed to be imported unqualified. Pre-emptively bumping the major version number is meant to signal to downstream libraries that they should check to see if the new Prelude.Compat additions will clash with identifiers of the same names in their code.

Supported versions of GHC/base

  • ghc-9.10.* / base-4.20.*
  • ghc-9.8.* / base-4.19.*
  • ghc-9.6.* / base-4.18.*
  • ghc-9.4.* / base-4.17.*
  • ghc-9.2.* / base-4.16.*
  • ghc-9.0.* / base-4.15.*
  • ghc-8.10.* / base-4.14.*
  • ghc-8.8.* / base-4.13.*
  • ghc-8.6.* / base-4.12.*
  • ghc-8.4.* / base-4.11.*
  • ghc-8.2.* / base-4.10.*
  • ghc-8.0.* / base-4.9.*
  • ghc-7.10.* / base-4.8.*
  • ghc-7.8.* / base-4.7.*
  • ghc-7.6.* / base-4.6.*
  • ghc-7.4.* / base-4.5.*
  • ghc-7.2.* / base-4.4.*
  • ghc-7.0.* / base-4.3.*

We also make an attempt to keep base-compat building with GHC HEAD, but due to its volatility, it may not work at any given point in time. If it doesn't, please report it!

Patches are welcome; add tests for new code!