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A dependently typed programming language, a successor to Idris
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edwinb Check delay is allowed before delaying
We can't nest delayed elaborators (this is an efficiency constraint, to
prevent excessive searching for ambiguous names) to run elaborator
immediately if delays aren't allowed in delayElab
Latest commit 0d5dc8c Jul 14, 2019

Idris 2

This is a pre-alpha implementation of Idris 2, the successor to Idris.

Idris 2 is mostly backwards compatible with Idris 1, with some minor exceptions. The most notable user visible differences, which might cause Idris 1 programs to fail to type check, are:

  • Unbound implicit arguments are always erased, so it is a type error to attempt to pattern match on one.
  • Simplified resolution of ambiguous names, which might mean you need to explicitly disambiguate more often. As a general rule, Idris 2 will be able to disambiguate between names which have different concrete return types (such as data constructors), or which have different concrete argument types (such as record projections). It may struggle to resolve ambiguities if one name requires an interface to be resolved.
  • Minor differences in the meaning of export modifiers private, export, and public export, which now refer to visibility of names from other namespaces rather than visibility from other files.
  • Module names must match the filename in which they are defined (unless the module's name is "Main").
  • Anything which uses a %language pragma in Idris 1 is likely to be different. Notably, elaborator reflection will exist, but most likely in a slightly different form because the internal details of the elaborator are different.
  • The Prelude is much smaller (and easier to replace with an alternative).

Watch this space for more details and the rationale for the changes, as I get around to writing it...

Summary of new features:

  • A core language based on "Quantitative Type Theory" which allows explicit annotation of erased types, and linear types.
  • let bindings are now more expressive, and can be used to define pattern matching functions locally.
  • Names which are in scope in a type are also always in scope in the body of the corresponding definition.
  • Better inference. Holes are global to a source file, rather than local to a definition, meaning that some holes can be left in function types to be inferred by the type checker. This also gives better inference for the types of case expressions, and means fewer annotations are needed in interface declarations.
  • Better type checker implementation which minimises the need for compile time evaluation.
  • New Chez Scheme based back end which both compiles and runs faster than the default Idris 1 back end. (Also, optionally, Chicken Scheme and Racket can be used as targets).
  • Everything works faster :).

A significant change in the implementation is that there is an intermediate language TTImp, which is essentially a desugared Idris, and is cleanly separated from the high level language which means it is potentially usable as a core language for other high level syntaxes.


To build and install what exists of it so far:

  • Optionally, set the PREFIX in Makefile
  • make idris2
  • make install

You'll need to set your PATH to $PREFIX/bin You may also want to set IDRIS_CC to clang, since this seems to build the generated C significantly faster.

Note: If you edit idris2.ipkg to use the opts with optimisation set (--cg-opt -O2) you'll find it runs about twice as fast, at the cost of taking a couple of minutes to generate the idris2 executable.

You can check that building succeeded by running

  • make test

I make no promises how well this works yet, but you are welcome to have a play. Good luck :).

Information about external dependencies are presented in

Things still missing

  • Some high level syntax, notably idiom brackets
  • 'using' blocks
  • Cumulativity (so we currently have Type : Type! Bear that in mind when you think you've proved something :))
  • 'rewrite' doesn't yet work on dependent types
  • Some details of 'with' not yet done (notably recursive with call syntax)
  • Parts of the ide-mode, particularly syntax highlighting
  • Documentation strings and HTML documentation generation
  • ':search' and ':apropos' at the REPL
  • The rest of this "Things still missing" list
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