# Rank N Types in Scala 3

I'm recently migrating some libs and projects to Scala 3, I guess it would be very helpful to me or anyone interested to learn some new functional programming features that Scala 3 is bringing to us.

Source code 👉 https://github.com/jcouyang/meow

## Scala 2

There is no Rank N Types in Scala 2, but you can use FunctionK from Cats to mimic Rank N Types.

This is a Rank 1:

// forall a b c. (b, c) -> (a -> a) -> (b, c) def rank[A,B,C](a: (B, C), doSomething: A => A): (B, C) = (doSomething(a._1), doSomething(a._2))

It won't compile because `doSomething` is rank 1 in rank 2 place.

When compiler tried to figure our what type `doSomething(a._1)`

really is, since `=a._1: B`

fix the type `doSomething: B => B`

so compiler knows that `A = B`

, but latter on there is a `doSomething(a._2)`

now compiler confused, A cannot be both B and C while there
are no proof of `B = C`

.

Simplest way to make Scala 2 is to use Cats FunctionK:

def rank[B,C](a: (B, C), doSomething: Id ~> Id): (B, C) = (doSomething(a._1), doSomething(a._2))

Note that the trick of FunctionK, which basically remove A from type parameter `rank[A, B, C]`

, which means compiler then has nothing
to confuse about.

While it is not totally free to use cats, there are some boilerplate you have to do when defining `doSomething`

:

def doSomething: Id ~> Id = new (Id ~> Id) { def apply[A](a: Id[A]): Id[A] = a }

Type `A`

is hidden in the `apply`

method.

## Scala 3

Now in Scala 3, you can simply do the same thing natively with Polymorphic function types.

// rank 2 type (forall a. a -> a) val id = [A] => (a: A) => a // forall b c. (b, c) -> (forall a. a -> a) -> (b, c) def rank2[B,C](a: (B, C), doSomething: [A] => A => A): (B, C) = (doSomething(a._1), doSomething(a._2)) def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = { println( rank2((1, "2"), id) ) }

The trick is now `A`

is defined `[A] => A => A`

, no in method type parameters.
It is quite similar to how we define rank n types in Haskell

forall b c. (b, c) -> (forall a. a -> a) -> (b, c)

So basically `[A] =>`

is the same thing as `forall a.`

Play around with the above examples in scatie: https://scastie.scala-lang.org/jcouyang/3hNle3faQ7SpS4mCcoMSGA/29

Or clone the repo and play locally: https://github.com/jcouyang/meow