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Using the Either Monad Inside Another Monad

After yesterday’s post about the Either Monad I wanted to see if it was easy to embed that bit of doWork stuff right into the main function.

This was mostly about learning the syntax, I would suggest keeping stuff separate as much as possible in real code.

The biggest gotcha I found was that the indentation of the x <- eitherFailure... bit needed to be deeper than the r in the result token. This ended up being more than my normal 2 space indent.

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import Control.Error

-- A type for my example functions to pass or fail on.
data Flag = Pass | Error

main :: IO ()
main = do
  putStrLn "Starting to do work:"

  -- The inner monad here is Either. But note that we have
  -- no IO ability inside of it.
  let result = do
      x <- eitherFailure Pass "Initial Thing"
      y <- eitherFailure Error ("Second Thing " ++ x)
      note ("Failed the Maybe: " ++ y) $ maybeFailure Pass y

  case result of
    Left  val -> putStrLn $ "Work Result: Failed\n " ++ val
    Right val -> putStrLn $ "Work Result: Passed\n " ++ val
  putStrLn "Ok, finished. Have a nice day"

-- Simple function that we can use to force it to error out with a Left, or
-- pass with a Right value. It just includes some helper text as its content,
-- showing what happened.
eitherFailure :: Flag -> String -> Either String String
eitherFailure Pass  val = Right $ "-> Passed " ++ val
eitherFailure Error val = Left  $ "-> Failed " ++ val

-- Simlar to eitherFailure, but return a (Just String) or a Nothing based on
-- if we told it to fail.
maybeFailure :: Flag -> String -> Maybe String
maybeFailure Pass  val = Just $ "-> Passed maybe " ++ val
maybeFailure Error _   = Nothing

You can see it’s the same code, except the result in main is calculated directly there, rather than calling another function.

Note that this isn’t the transformer library, so you can’t be clever and do stuff like lift and friends to do IO in that Either workflow.

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