[Haskell-cafe] My experience setting up Haskell up for GUI development

Ben Arnold benedict.arnold at gmail.com
Sun May 18 14:26:09 EDT 2008

I'm running Windows Vista and I've been trying to set up an environment for
writing GUI applications.

A Google search pointed me at two major GUI toolkits for Haskell: gtk2hs and

I started with gtk2hs. The installation instructions were straightfoward and
easy to follow, but they just didn't work. The installer did nothing. It
opened a command window and immediately terminated. When I ran it from a
command window it terminated immediately, apparently doing nothing at all.
Running as Administrator didn't help. There was no error message, the log
file option didn't generate a log file and Googling for a solution didn't
come up with anything.

So I gave up on gtk2hs.

WxHaskell was a little trickier but more successful. There didn't appear to
be any installation instructions on the website, but it did imply that I
needed to install wxWidgets first. I did that, and made sure the paths
didn't have spaces in them (yawn). And after restarting the PC eventually I
got a working Hello World dialogue box.

Which is nice, except that when I call "main" twice in succession from GHCi,
ghc.exe crashes. So I have no confidence in the wxHaskell libraries either.
I don't want to invest time in programming with libraries that perform
illegal operations on my operating system.

I like Haskell; I really do. I've toyed around with it before a few times
and I want to learn more about it, but I can't confine myself to
command-line applications forever and for better or worse I run a Windows

So, in practice, do other people write GUI apps with Haskell on Windows? And
if they do, how do they do it? I feel I've got to the stage where I need a
concrete recommendation from the experts.

My installation:

- Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit 6.0.6001

First attempt

- GHC 6.6.1
- gtk2hs-09.12.exe

Second attempt

- GHC 6.8.2
- wxMSW 2.6.3
- wxHaskell 0.10.3

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