[Haskell-cafe] Updating the Haskell Standard

Sebastian Sylvan sebastian.sylvan at gmail.com
Fri Jul 22 09:36:51 EDT 2005

On 7/20/05, John Goerzen <jgoerzen at complete.org> wrote:
> There was a brief discussion on #haskell today about the Haskell
> standard.  I'd like to get opinions from more people, and ask if there
> is any effort being done in this direction presently.
> I think an updated standard is overdue.  I find it difficult anymore to
> write any but the most trivial of programs using pure Haskell 98.  Some
> notable, and widely-used, features developed since then include:
>  * Overlapping instances
>  * FFI
>  * Hierarchical namespace
>  * Undecidable instances
>  * All sorts of updates to the standard library
> It has been awhile since I wrote a Haskell program that can compile in
> pure Haskell 98 mode.  I think it would benefit everyone if a more
> up-to-date standard were made available.
> I know that some people would like to hold off on such a process until
> their favorite feature (we'll call it feature X) is finished.  I would
> argue that incremental addendums to the standard should be made more
> frequently, so that new features can be standardized more easily.
> Thoughts?
> Who organized the standardization effort last time?

I agree. In fact I think a Haskell 2.0 standard should be decided
upon. The benefit of making a full version change like that instead of
just adding to the current H98 standard is that there is less pressure
to be backwards-compatible.

Haskell is beautiful, but it does have its warts. A Haskell 2.0 could
incorporate some non-backwards-compatible changes which would make
things a bit nicer.
There are tons of useful extensions in GHC which should be included.
>From my perspective, someone who rarely uses the more exotic
extensions, the two main warts is the module system (I would like to
be able to "re-export modules qualified", so the user could import
MyGraphicsLib and then have access to, say, Button.new and
Window.close which would normally reside under MyGraphicsLib.Button
and MyGraphicsLib.Window) and also the record system which I'm sure
you'll all agree is quite inconvenient (this may suffice:

Also, the name "Haskell '98" probably sounded new and fresh back in
'97, but it just sounds old and stale now. Version  numbers is the way
to go, IMO.

Like someone pointed out, there is no official committe to decide
these things. I suspect that if the GHC folks incorporated a "Haskell
2.0 Proposal"-mode in a future version, which includes the current
glasgow-exts along with better module and record systems, consesus
could be reached pretty fast.


Sebastian Sylvan
UIN: 44640862

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list