Haskell Theory Exploration scripts

Posted on by Chris Warburton

I thought I’d make a public announcement about some scripts I’ve built up over the last few years for “exploring” Haskell code. They can be found at:


With mirrors at /ipns/QmWv958VzBJQchGjYKiSaxLC9ugrjvXkqMpVrmjp9AonXq and https://github.com/Warbo/haskell-te

These use the excellent QuickSpec library from:


This empirically (through brute force and QuickCheck testing) conjectures equations about given Haskell function definitions.

I think it’s a very under-utilised library, perhaps due to a couple of reasons:

I know there’s some work to address the efficiency concerns in newer version, but that’s not made its way to Hackage, Nixpkgs, etc. yet:


My scripts try to address the usability issues. More details are in the README, but basically we can run:

quickspec myHaskellDir | renderEqs

This will (hopefully) output conjectures found by QuickSpec about the functions defined in myHaskellDir. This automatically finds all function definitions, looks up their types, arities, etc. and invokes QuickSpec in a subprocess (with optional timeouts and memory limits).

If we leave off the renderEqs, we get an easily-parsed JSON format, which we can feed into other tools.

Note that I make heavy use of the Nix language, and it’s quite hit-or-miss whether a package will work. My hope is that more widespread knowledge of these tools will alleviate some of the existing pain points.

In particular, many packages define Arbitrary instances for their types, but they do so in their test suites rather than their libraries, so nobody else can make use of them (I assume this is to keep down library dependencies?)