[Haskell-cafe] Re: Thinking about what's missing in our library coverage

John MacFarlane jgm at berkeley.edu
Tue Aug 4 11:54:14 EDT 2009

+++ Don Stewart [Aug 03 09 22:53 ]:
> alexander.dunlap:
> > >          o pandoc — markdown, reStructuredText, HTML, LaTeX, ConTeXt, Docbook, OpenDocument, ODT, RTF, MediaWiki, groff
> > 
> > No. Pandoc is too actively developed to go into the HP. It's also much
> > more of an end-user application than a "standard library" - it's
> > applications are not general enough to be included in the standard
> > distribution.
> > 
> One comment on your thoughtful post.
> What role does having unique capabilities for the Haskell Platform play?
> Our base library is already notable for having OpenGL support out of the
> box. Maybe markup/markdown formats (for example) would also help Haskell
> stand out from the crowd. A similar case would be gtk2hs out of the box
> (Python supplied Tcl guis).
> On the other hand, maybe the HP should be aiming to be comprehensive
> enough to /support/ pandoc without additional dependencies.

I agree that pandoc shouldn't be in the HP.

Also, although we ought to have a zip encoding package, I'm not sure
it should be zip-archive (I'm the author).  zip-archive is not complete;
there are some kinds of zip files it can't parse.  Quoting the
documentation: "there is no support for encryption, zip files that span
multiple disks, ZIP64, OS-specific file attributes, or compression
methods other than Deflate." A better solution, perhaps, would be a
binding to libzip.

In this connection, I want to make a general point about the HP:
In a way, it doesn't matter so much which additional pure Haskell
libraries it includes, because once you have cabal install, you can get
anything easily. For bindings to C libraries, it's another story.
pcre-light is a good example. If I want to tell someone how to install
pandoc with syntax highlighting, I can't just say, "Get the HP and
then cabal install pandoc -fhighlighting". I have to say: "First,
install the pcre library, if it's not already on your system..." -- and
you lose a lot of users at this step.

Havig high-quality, high-level bindings to standard libraries like pcre,
libzip, etc., together with the C libraries themselves, in HP would be
very useful.


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