[Haskell-cafe] ANN: diagrams 0.2.1, and planned major improvements

Brent Yorgey byorgey at seas.upenn.edu
Thu Sep 24 15:48:47 EDT 2009

Hi all,

I'm pleased to announce version 0.2.1 of the diagrams library,
available now on Hackage [1].  This is a minor release which fixes a
few bugs and adds a few new combinators, most notably a grid layout
combinator contributed by Ganesh Sittampalam.  For a full list of the
features new to 0.2.1, see the CHANGES file [2].

The real reason for the release is to get existing new features out
the door before gearing up for a planned major rewrite of the backend
to use a constraint-solving layout engine.  This will allow for much
greater elegance and flexibility, as well as a number of features
(such as arrows connecting different parts of the diagram) which would
be difficult or impossible to implement in the current framework.

My ultimate vision is for the diagrams library to become a viable
alternative to declarative drawing systems such as MetaPost [3] and
Asymptote [4], with the distinct advantages that it will be

    (1) *purely* declarative, and

    (2) an *embedded* DSL, providing the full power of Haskell and its
        ecosystem, as opposed to the ad-hoc specialized languages used
        by MetaPost and Asymptote.

If this sounds exciting to you, I hope you'll join me, either by
trying out diagrams for your projects and providing feedback, or by
contributing some code.  If you're interested in helping with the
rewrite itself, let me know; I also plan to set up a core/contrib
model like that of xmonad, so there should also be plenty of
opportunities for contributing independent add-on modules which
enhance the core functionality.


[1] http://hackage.haskell.org/package/diagrams
[2] http://code.haskell.org/diagrams/CHANGES
[3] http://www.tug.org/metapost.html
[4] http://asymptote.sourceforge.net/

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