The zipper type provides the ability to efficiently edit tree-shaped data in a purely functional setting by providing constant time edits at a focal point in an immutable structure. It is used in a number of applications and is widely applicable for manipulating tree-shaped data structures.
The traditional zipper suffer from two major limitations, however. First, it operates only on homogeneous types. That is to say, every node the zipper visits must have the same type. In practice, many tree-shaped types do not satisfy this condition, and thus cannot be handled by the traditional zipper. Second, the traditional zipper involves a significant amount of boilerplate code. A custom implementation must be written for each type the zipper traverses. This is error prone and must be updated whenever the type being traversed changes.
The generic zipper presented in this talk overcomes these limitations. It operates over any type and requires no boilerplate code to be written by the user. The only restriction is that the types traversed must be instances of the Data class from the Scrap your Boilerplate framework.