How do I give a Functor instance to a datatype built for general recursion schemes?

I have a recursive datatype which has a Functor instance:

data Expr1 a
  = Val1 a
  | Add1 (Expr1 a) (Expr1 a)
  deriving (Eq, Show, Functor)

Now, I'm interested in modifying this datatype to support general recursion schemes, as they are described in this tutorial and this Hackage package. I managed to get the catamorphism to work:

newtype Fix f = Fix {unFix :: f (Fix f)}

data ExprF a r
  = Val a
  | Add r r
  deriving (Eq, Show, Functor)

type Expr2 a = Fix (ExprF a)

cata :: Functor f => (f a -> a) -> Fix f -> a
cata f = f . fmap (cata f) . unFix

eval :: Expr2 Int -> Int
eval = cata $ \case
  Val n -> n
  Add x y -> x + y

main :: IO ()
main =
  print $ eval
    (Fix (Add (Fix (Val 1)) (Fix (Val 2))))

But now I can't figure out how to give Expr2 the same functor instance that the original Expr had. It seems there is a kind mismatch when trying to define the functor instance:

instance Functor (Fix (ExprF a)) where
    fmap = undefined
Kind mis-match
    The first argument of `Functor' should have kind `* -> *',
    but `Fix (ExprF a)' has kind `*'
    In the instance declaration for `Functor (Fix (ExprF a))'

How do I write a Functor instance for Expr2?

I thought about wrapping Expr2 in a newtype with newtype Expr2 a = Expr2 (Fix (ExprF a)) but then this newtype needs to be unwrapped to be passed to cata, which I don't like very much. I also don't know if it would be possible to automatically derive the Expr2 functor instance like I did with Expr1.


  • I wonder if you might be better off using the Free type:

    data Free f a
      = Pure a
      | Wrap (f (Free f a))
    deriving Functor
    data ExprF r
      = Add r r
    deriving Functor

    This has the added benefit that there are quite a few libraries that work on free monads already, so maybe they'll save you some work.