[Haskell-cafe] expanded standard lib

Andrew Coppin andrewcoppin at btinternet.com
Mon Nov 19 16:21:51 EST 2007

Neil Mitchell wrote:
> Hi
>> - The packages seem to be of quite variable quality. Some are excellent,
>> some are rather poor (or just not maintained any more).
> The problem is that only one person gets to comment on the quality of
> a library, the author, who is about the least objective person.

Yes, perhaps so...

>> - Almost all packages seem to require a long list of dependencies.
> Cabal-install will turn this from being a negative to being a
> positive, if it ever delivers on its promise.

Here's to hoping. ;-)

>> - There seems to be an awful lot of packages that do the same thing but
>> with incompatible interfaces (and varying limitations). It seems we're
>> not very coordinated here.
> Variety is good. Hopefully at some point people will start to
> standardise. For example, there are at least 4 libraries for working
> with HTML (TagSoup, HaXml, HXT, ...brain freeze...) - eventually
> someone will write a nice summary tutorial on when to use which one.
> In Haskell the interface is usually the most important bit, so making
> different libraries use the same interface eliminates their
> advantages.

Variety is good. Standardisation is also good (for different reasons). 
Having half a dozen database access libraries (each of which only talks 
to certain databases) is just confusing. I suppose the key is to find a 
balance between having lots of choice and knowing which thing to choose. 
(Also, when somebody writes a library, it's dependencies are going to be 
the author's choice. Not much fun trying to use two libraries that both 
depend on different, incompatible "binary" packages...)

> Windows, the Operating System no one in the Haskell community loves...
> Make sure you point all the bugs and even little annoyances that you
> encounter, and hopefully things will head in the right direction.

Well, I've already filed 4 bugs against GHC. One was already fixed by 
GHC 6.8.1 (yays!), one is trivial and will be fixed in 6.8.2, and the 
other two it seems nobody is keen to work on. (In fairness, one of them 
is fairly nontrivial.) I get the impression that I'd probably be 
regarded as a pest if I just spent all day filing endless bug reports... 
It would be quite nice if rather than just filing reports, I could do 
something useful to help *fix* these bugs. But, unfortunately, that is 
beyond my skill.

(On the other hand, even things that I should theoretically be able to 
do I haven't managed to. You might remember a while back I offered to 
try to spruce up the Haddoc documentation for Parsec. It has a great 
user manual, but the Haddoc reference is Spartan. Well anyway, in the 
end I couldn't figure out how to do that, so nothing got done...)

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