Module Core_kernel.Perms

These types are intended to be used as phantom types encoding the permissions on a given type.

Basic Usage

Here's a hypothetical interface to an on-off switch which uses them:

open Perms.Export

module Switch : sig
  type -'permissions t

  val create : unit -> [< _ perms] t
  val read  : [> read] t  -> [`On | `Off]
  val write : [> write] t -> [`On | `Off] -> unit

Note that the permissions parameter must be contravariant -- you are allowed to forget that you have any particular permissions, but not give yourself new permissions.

You can now create different "views" of a switch. For example, in:

let read_write_s1 : read_write Switch.t = Switch.create ()
let read_only_s1 = (read_write_s1 :> read t)

read_write_s1 and read_only_s1 are physically equal, but calling Switch.write read_only_s1 is a type error, while Switch.write read_write_s1 is allowed.

Also note that this is a type error:

let s1 = Switch.create ()
let read_write_s1 = (s1 :> read_write t)
let immutable_s1  = (s1 :> immutable  t)

which is good, since it would be incorrect if it were allowed. This is enforced by:

1. Having the permissions parameter be contravariant and the only way to create a t be a function call. This causes the compiler to require that created ts have a concrete type (due to the value restriction).

2. Ensuring that there is no type that has both read_write and immutable as subtypes. This is why the variants are `Who_can_write of Me.t and `Who_can_write of Nobody.t rather than `I_can_write and `Nobody_can_write.

Note that, as a consequence of 1, exposing a global switch as in:

module Switch : sig
  val global : [< _ perms] t

would be a mistake, since one library could annotate as an immutable Switch.t, while another library writes to it.

More Usage Patterns

The standard usage pattern is as above:

The reason for having creation functions return a t with [< _ perms] permissions is to help give early warning if you create a t with a nonsensical permission type that you wouldn't be able to use with the other functions in the module.

Ideally, this would be done with a constraint on the type in a usage pattern like this:

Unfortunately, that doesn't work for us due to some quirks in the way constraints of this form are handled: In particular, they don't work well with [@@deriving sexp] and they don't work well with included signatures. But you could try this usage pattern if you don't do either of those things.

For some types you may expect to always have read permissions, and it may therefore by annoying to keep rewriting [> read]. In that case you may want to try this usage pattern:

However, the standard usage pattern is again preferred to this one: constraint has lots of sharp edges, and putting [> read] instead of _ in the types provides explicitness.

type nobody

Every type in this module besides the following two represent permission sets; these two represent who is allowed to write in the Write.t and Immutable.t types.

val bin_shape_nobody : Bin_prot.Shape.t
val bin_size_nobody : nobody Bin_prot.Size.sizer
val bin_write_nobody : nobody Bin_prot.Write.writer
val bin_writer_nobody : nobody Bin_prot.Type_class.writer
val bin_read_nobody : nobody Bin_prot.Read.reader
val __bin_read_nobody__ : ( -> nobody) Bin_prot.Read.reader
val bin_reader_nobody : nobody Bin_prot.Type_class.reader
val bin_nobody : nobody Bin_prot.Type_class.t
val compare_nobody : nobody -> nobody ->
val hash_fold_nobody : Base.Hash.state -> nobody -> Base.Hash.state
val hash_nobody : nobody -> Base.Hash.hash_value
val sexp_of_nobody : nobody -> Ppx_sexp_conv_lib.Sexp.t
val nobody_of_sexp : Ppx_sexp_conv_lib.Sexp.t -> nobody
type me
val bin_shape_me : Bin_prot.Shape.t
val bin_size_me : me Bin_prot.Size.sizer
val bin_write_me : me Bin_prot.Write.writer
val bin_writer_me : me Bin_prot.Type_class.writer
val bin_read_me : me Bin_prot.Read.reader
val __bin_read_me__ : ( -> me) Bin_prot.Read.reader
val bin_reader_me : me Bin_prot.Type_class.reader
val bin_me : me Bin_prot.Type_class.t
val compare_me : me -> me ->
val hash_fold_me : Base.Hash.state -> me -> Base.Hash.state
val hash_me : me -> Base.Hash.hash_value
val sexp_of_me : me -> Ppx_sexp_conv_lib.Sexp.t
val me_of_sexp : Ppx_sexp_conv_lib.Sexp.t -> me
module Read : sig ... end
module Write : sig ... end
module Immutable : sig ... end
module Read_write : sig ... end
module Upper_bound : sig ... end
module Export : sig ... end
module Stable : sig ... end