[Haskell-cafe] Web server libraries

John Goerzen jgoerzen at complete.org
Thu Mar 27 15:26:39 EDT 2008

Hi again,

I'm currently working on a project that has a Web interface to data
stored in a SQL database.  I wrote this thing in WASH a few years
back.  Overall, this has been acceptable, but the non-Haskell-adepts
around here run away screaming from the code.  Not only that, but we
don't get control over the names of the form elements, which can make
interacting with other software that sometimes plonks users down
halfway through the process -- well, interesting.  Also, WASH supports
nothing better than CGI, which is a big minus when talking to SQL databases.

What I really want is some sort of simple tool that supports FastCGI
or some such, has basic support for form data input validation and
marshalling to/from Haskell types, and basic control flow.  I don't
need, or really particularly want, something that uses hs-plugins to
compile pages on demand (I'm using Haskell for it's static safety,
after all).  Nor do I need fancy templating systems or session support
(we use HTTP auth and are fine with it for now.)

So I've looked around a bit at the landscape.  Any recommendations?

I've found these:

HSP: big on "dynamic pages".  I don't want to make my webserver able
to compile Haskell code.  Develop code, compile, test, make sure it's
right, then push to production every 6 months around here.

WASH: Pretty much the right niche, but the event model is hard to use.

HAppS: Frankly it is a big collection of confusing packages to me.  What
documentation exists doesn't seem to be relevant anymore, and it seems
to be designed to not use a SQL database.

FastCGI: Relies upon CGI for a good part of processing.  Does not seem
to have any form data validation support built in.

Thanks again,

-- John

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