[Haskell-cafe] Some Haskell platformish questions

David Pollak feeder.of.the.bears at gmail.com
Wed Aug 1 16:48:07 EDT 2007


I'm considering building a desktop app using Haskell.  The primary target
for the app is Windows, but if it runs on Linux and Mac (Intel and PPC),
that'd be a bonus.  I've got a bunch of questions that hopefully folks can

Well, before I start, you might well be asking "Gee David, you're a Scala
kind of guy... I mean, you're the primary contributor to lift... why not use
Scala?"  Well, I'm looking to build something that compiles down to native
code and has a smaller download (and runtime) footprint than the JVM
offers.  I've come to love functional programming and am taking the current
side project as an opportunity to learn Haskell.

So... on to the questions:

   - Can GHC generate stand-alone executables with all the dependencies
   linked in such that I can distribute the single file without worrying about
   including a bunch of DLLs/SOs? The answer seems to be yes, but I wanted to
   - How much of a distribution footprint is the Haskell runtime?  If I
   have a "Hello World" app, roughly how big will the EXE be (if one includes
   the JRE in the runtime, a Java/Scala program has a minimum footprint of
   20M... that's big.)
   - Same goes for the runtime... I've looked at the stats on the
   Language Shootout home page and these look encouraging, but I wanted to see
   if the reasonable footprint is a reality.
   - How real/solid/stable is the wxHaskell widgets package?  Is it being
   well maintained?  Is there (okay... this is pie in the sky) an GUI Builder
   for it?
   - How are the Windows/COM bindings in Haskell... would it be possible
   to, for example, embed an IE Browser COM control in a a wxHaskell window?
   - I found a package to do HTTP requests in Haskell but it does not
   seem to support HTTPS.  Is there an HTTPS client package for Haskell?
   - How are Strings internally represented?  Are they single byte or
   multi-byte characters?  How easy it is to translate to/from internal
   representation to UTF-8?
   - How's the XML support?  Will the XML parser handle non-Latin
   characters and properly encode stuff?  Does XML get parsed down into easily
   mappable/filterable collections?
   - Is there support for SHA256 (I saw an SSLeay package which had
   support for a lot of stuff, but not SHA256)?
   - I understand that Haskell has "a better approach" to parallelizing
   tasks, but I have not seen much about the actual manifestation of this...
   would someone be so kind as to give me a pointer?
   - On a related note, I have become a fan (via Scala) of Erlang-style
   Actors and asynchronous message passing.  Are there any similar packages for
   - I tend to do most of my coding in either Emacs or Eclipse... how's
   the Haskell support in either?  Is there a preferred editor (I don't mean to
   start any wars here... :-)
   - Are there any production Haskell-based desktop apps of note?

Anyway... sorry for the long list of questions.  I look forward to hearing
from you all and learning more about Haskell.



lift, the fast, powerful, easy web framework
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