[Haskell-cafe] real haskell difficulties (at least for me)

Duncan Coutts duncan.coutts at worc.ox.ac.uk
Tue Jan 13 18:20:50 EST 2009

On Tue, 2009-01-13 at 18:43 +0100, Peter Verswyvelen wrote:
> What could be done is letting the community rate the quality of the
> modules for each platform? Maybe with user comments? Like amazon.com
> (so we hackazon.org ;-)  And using lambdas instead of stars for giving
> the rating :)

On Tue, 2009-01-13 at 15:55 -0200, Mauricio wrote:
> There's a 'stability' field on cabal description files. Maybe
> it could appear after the name on the main listing. Or, all
> packages marked as 'Stable' at that field could get a beautifull
> color.

My main problem with these mechanisms is that they require a lot of
manual work and there is no way to ensure the information is accurate or

If what we want to know is "does the package build" then we should build
it and find out. We should build it on a 100 different platform
combinations and combine the information. That's what we're trying to do
with the new haskage-server and cabal-install. Lack of developer time is
hampering progress.

The stability field is almost useless. There is no agreement on what it
means and most packages lack it. If what we want to know is "is this
version of the package API compatible with this one" then we should
follow the package versioning policy. We should let packages opt-in to
the policy and if they op-in we should enforce it. That gives us real
information and real guarantees.

Similar comments apply for test suites and code coverage. Automation and
collection of useful information.

What human comments are great for however is describing the quality of
the API, how well it composes, how good the documentation is, how easy
it is to understand and use. That kind of information can only be
gleaned through use.

I don't know if a star/lambda rating system would be very helpful. There
are only a few similar packages in each category (even for xml and
databases). Once we eliminate the ones that clearly do not build (using
the automatically collected info) then there will only be the comments
for two or three packages to review. That's not that much and star
rating probably do not provide a very good summary to help in that

Automation! Automation! Automation!

(Oh and more hackers to help us with these vial community infrastructure


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