# Reflections on Monadic Lenses

## Abstract

Bidirectional transformations (bx) have primarily been modeled as pure functions, and do not account for the possibility of the side-effects that are available in most programming languages. Recently several formulations of bx that use monads to account for effects have been proposed, both among practitioners and in academic research. The combination of bx with effects turns out to be surprisingly subtle, leading to problems with some of these proposals and increasing the complexity of others. This paper reviews the proposals for monadic lenses to date, and offers some improved definitions, paying particular attention to the obstacles to naively adding monadic effects to existing definitions of pure bx such as lenses and symmetric lenses, and the subtleties of equivalence of symmetric bidirectional transformations in the presence of effects.

## Notes

### Acknowledgements

The work was supported by the UK EPSRC-funded project *A Theory of Least Change for Bidirectional Transformations* (TLCBX Project 2013–2016) (EP/K020218/1, EP/K020919/1).

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