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I've actually found knowledge of type inference quite useful for understanding error messages. In OCaml, you typically allow the compiler to infer all types for functions, and only have them compared to your type signatures later, when the containing module is ascribed to a signature. This means that you can see type errors in a perfectly-correct definition of a function -- if you used it incorrectly earlier in the file. This confused the heck out of me until I thought for a few seconds about how it worked.

Haskell mostly avoids this problem by encouraging writing type signatures and checking them immediately against definitions, turning the global analysis that is OCaml's type inference into a local problem. However, when using local definitions, I do still sometimes have to think about whether a type error comes from a definition or a use.




You can solve this, to some extent, in OCaml, by just type-hinting everything. But then what fun is type inference?




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