How to start with GHC development?

Jan Stolarek jan.stolarek at
Tue Dec 18 22:12:07 CET 2012

> So the first page here tells you how to get a single source tree so that
> you can build it.  The second page tells you how to create a 2-tree
> setup for use with GHC's validate; the latter is aimed at people doing
> lots of GHC development (which is why it's under WorkingConventions).
I think that wiki doesn't make distinction between (setup for beginners)/(setup for regular 
developers) clear - see below. It would be good to give some motivation behind each of these 
approaches as right now it seems there are two different instructions to do the same thing.

> (...) I think it's more important to deal
> with the simple case first which is why it is right near the start of
> the Building Guide.
Please notice that one of the first things one reads on "Getting the GHC Sources" page is:

"The first thing to do is install  git. And then read Git Working Conventions for instructions on 
how to use Git with GHC development."

It suggests quite explicitly to read the conventions before proceeding with the rest of the page! 
Personally I find information about dual-tree setup very useful. Assuming one knows how to use 
git it is not as overcomplicated setup.

> The first page lists the repositories and where the upstreams and
> mirrors are.  The second page contains the conventions for working on
> other repositories (which is why it's under WorkingConventions).
I would find it more intuitive to have one page with couple of sections: 1) Structure of 
repositories; 2) Working with external repositories; - or something like that.

> The nice thing about a wiki is that you don't have to move content
> around, you can just make new contents pages that contain whatever
> organisation you want. So maybe what you want is a separate page that
> links to things to read in a particular order?
No, I think not - the main page of "Building Guide" is already such a page. The list of topics is 
very nice and I don't feel it needs improving. The problems begin when one start reading through 
particular topics.

I must add that despite my endless comments on how Commentary could be improved I consider GHC to 
be the best documented project I've seen so far. You did a really fantastic work with putting 
your knowledge on the wiki!


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