Removing Hoopl dependency?

Michal Terepeta michal.terepeta at
Thu Jun 8 18:58:46 UTC 2017

> On Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 7:05 PM Simon Peyton Jones <simonpj at>
> Michael
> Sorry to be slow.
> > Note that what I’m actually advocating is to *finish* forking Hoopl. The
> > fork really started in ~2012 when the “new Cmm backend” was being
> > finished.
> Yes, I know.  But what I’m suggesting is to revisit the reasons for that
fork, and re-join if possible.  Eg if Hoopl is too slow, can’t we make it
faster?  Why is GHC’s version faster?
> > apart from the performance
> > (as noted above), there’s the issue of Hoopl’s interface. IMHO the
> > node-oriented approach taken by Hoopl is both not flexible enough and it
> > makes it harder to optimize it. That’s why I’ve already changed GHC’s
> > `Hoopl.Dataflow` module to operate “block-at-a-time”
> Well that sounds like an argument to re-engineer Hoopl’s API, rather an
argument to fork it.  If it’s a better API, can’t we make it better for
everyone?  I don’t yet understand what the “block-oriented” API is, or how
it differs, but let’s have the conversation.

Sure, but re-engineering the API of a publicly use package has significant
cost for everyone involved:
- GHC: we might need to wait longer for any improvements and spend
  more time discussing various options (and compromises - what makes
  sense for GHC might not make sense for other people)
- Hoopl users: will need to migrate to the new APIs potentially
  multiple times
- Hoopl maintainers: might need to maintain more than one branches of
  Hoopl for a while

And note that just bumping a version number might not be enough.  IIRC
Stackage only allows one version of each package and since Hoopl is a
boot package for GHC, the new version will move to Stackage along with
GHC. So any users of Hoopl that want to use the old package, will not
be able to use that version of Stackage.

> > When you say
> > that we should “just fix Hoopl”, it sounds to me that we’d really need
> > to rewrite it from scratch. And it’s much easier to do that if we can
> > just experiment within GHC without worrying about breaking other
> > existing Hoopl users
> Fine.  But then let’s call it hoopl2, make it a separate package (perhaps
with GHC as its only client for now), and declare that it’s intended to
supersede hoopl.

Maybe this is the core of our disagreement - why is it a good idea to
have Hoopl as a separate package in the first place?

I've pointed multiple reasons why I think it has a significant cost.
But I don't really see any major benefits. Looking at the commit
history of Hoopl there hasn't been much development on it since 2012
when Simon M was trying to get the new GHC backend working (since
then, it's mostly maintenance patches to keep up with changes in
`base`, etc).
Extracting a core part of any project to a shared library has some
real costs, so there should be equally real benefits that outweigh
that cost. (If I proposed extracting parts of Core optimizer to a
separate package, wouldn't you expect some really good reasons for
doing this?)
I also do think this is quite different than a dependency on, say,
`binary`, `containers` or `pretty`, where the API of the library is
smaller (at least conceptually), much better understood and

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