Id datatype 

We saw Id in passing while reading EIP, but it’s an interesting tool, so we should revisit it. This is also called Identity, Identity functor, or Identity monad, depending on the context. The definition of the datatype is quite simple:

  type Id[A] = A

Here’s with the documentation and the typeclass instances:

/**
 * Identity, encoded as `type Id[A] = A`, a convenient alias to make
 * identity instances well-kinded.
 *
 * The identity monad can be seen as the ambient monad that encodes
 * the effect of having no effect. It is ambient in the sense that
 * plain pure values are values of `Id`.
 *
 * For instance, the [[cats.Functor]] instance for `[[cats.Id]]`
 * allows us to apply a function `A => B` to an `Id[A]` and get an
 * `Id[B]`. However, an `Id[A]` is the same as `A`, so all we're doing
 * is applying a pure function of type `A => B` to a pure value  of
 * type `A` to get a pure value of type `B`. That is, the instance
 * encodes pure unary function application.
 */
  type Id[A] = A
  implicit val Id: Bimonad[Id] with Traverse[Id] =
    new Bimonad[Id] with Traverse[Id] {
      def pure[A](a: A): A = a
      def extract[A](a: A): A = a
      def flatMap[A, B](a: A)(f: A => B): B = f(a)
      def coflatMap[A, B](a: A)(f: A => B): B = f(a)
      override def map[A, B](fa: A)(f: A => B): B = f(fa)
      override def ap[A, B](fa: A)(ff: A => B): B = ff(fa)
      override def flatten[A](ffa: A): A = ffa
      override def map2[A, B, Z](fa: A, fb: B)(f: (A, B) => Z): Z = f(fa, fb)
      override def lift[A, B](f: A => B): A => B = f
      override def imap[A, B](fa: A)(f: A => B)(fi: B => A): B = f(fa)
      def foldLeft[A, B](a: A, b: B)(f: (B, A) => B) = f(b, a)
      def foldRight[A, B](a: A, lb: Eval[B])(f: (A, Eval[B]) => Eval[B]): Eval[B] =
        f(a, lb)
      def traverse[G[_], A, B](a: A)(f: A => G[B])(implicit G: Applicative[G]): G[B] =
        f(a)
  }

Here’s how to create a value of Id:

scala> import cats._
import cats._

scala> val one: Id[Int] = 1
one: cats.Id[Int] = 1

Id as Functor 

The functor instance for Id is same as function application:

scala> Functor[Id].map(one) { _ + 1 }
res0: cats.Id[Int] = 2

Id as Apply 

The apply’s ap method, which takes Id[A => B], but in reality just A => B is also implemented as function application:

scala> Apply[Id].ap({ _ + 1 }: Id[Int => Int])(one)
res1: cats.Id[Int] = 2

Id as FlatMap 

The FlatMap’s flatMap method, which takes A => Id[B] is the same story. It’s implemented function application:

scala> FlatMap[Id].flatMap(one) { _ + 1 }
res2: cats.Id[Int] = 2

What’s the point of Id? 

At a glance, Id datatype is not very useful. The hint is in the Scaladoc of the definition: a convenient alias to make identity instances well-kinded. In other words, there are situations where we need to lift some type A into F[A], and Id can be used to just that without introducing any effects. We’ll see an example of that later.