[Haskell-cafe] The instability of Haskell libraries

David Leimbach leimy2k at gmail.com
Fri Apr 23 20:52:21 EDT 2010

On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 12:17 PM, John Goerzen <jgoerzen at complete.org>wrote:

> Don Stewart wrote:
>> I'll just quickly mention one factor that contributes:
>>    * In 2.5 years we've gone from 10 libraries on Hackage to 2023
>> (literally!)
>> That is a massive API to try to manage, hence the continuing move to
>> focus on automated QA on Hackage, and automated tools -- no one wants
>> to have to resolve those dependencies by hand.
> Yep, it's massive, and it's exciting.  We seem to have gone from stodgy old
> language to scrappy hot one.  Which isn't a bad thing at all.
> Out of those 2023, there are certain libraries where small changes impact a
> lot of people (say base, time, etc.)  I certainly don't expect all 2023 to
> be held to the same standard as base and time.  We certainly need to have
> room in the community for libraries that change rapidly too.
> I'd propose a very rough measuring stick: anything in the platform ought to
> be carefully considered for introducing incompatibilities.  Other
> commonly-used libraries, such as HaXML and HDBC, perhaps should fit in that
> criteria as well.
I feel your pain John... I try to use Haskell commercially, and sometimes
run into things I'm either going to have to re-implement myself or wait for
a fix and do some workaround.  Luckily I *like* this language enough to care
to do it, but it does present a bit of a problem when trying to break it
into an ecosystem full of C/C++ and Java when I have to back-peddle to
explain why something in this "new" language that's supposed to help solve
some problems with the "old" languages is not a magic bullet.

I think managers expect magic bullets and holy grails... sometimes they just
end up with "holy cow"'s (or other more interesting 4 letter words) instead.


> -- John
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