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10.4 Abstract instance declarations

Abstract instance declarations are instance declarations whose implementations are hidden. An abstract instance declaration has the same form as an instance declaration, but without the ‘where […]’ part. An abstract instance declaration declares that a sequence of types is an instance of a particular type class without defining how the type class methods are implemented for those types. Like abstract type declarations, abstract instance declarations are only useful in the interface section of a module. Each abstract instance declaration must be accompanied by a corresponding non-abstract instance declaration that defines how the type class methods are implemented.

Here is an example:

:- module hashable.
:- interface.
:- import_module int, string.

:- typeclass hashable(T) where [func hash(T) = int].
:- instance hashable(int).
:- instance hashable(string).

:- implementation.

:- instance hashable(int) where [func(hash/1) is hash_int].
:- instance hashable(string) where [func(hash/1) is hash_string].

:- func hash_int(int) = int.
hash_int(X) = X.

:- func hash_string(string) = int.
hash_string(S) = H :-
    % Use the standard library predicate string.hash/2.
    string.hash(S, H).

:- end_module hashable.