[Haskell-cafe] Projects that could use student contributions?

Jason Dagit dagit at codersbase.com
Tue Aug 31 18:20:14 EDT 2010

On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 1:52 PM, Brent Yorgey <byorgey at seas.upenn.edu> wrote:
> Hi all,
> This fall I'll be teaching a half-credit introduction to Haskell to
> some undergrads.  As a final project I am thinking of giving them the
> option of (instead of developing some program/project of their own)
> contributing to an existing open-source Haskell project.  Of course,
> this requires the existence of projects they could contribute to.  I'm
> sure they exist, but need your help to figure out what they are.  So,
> do you maintain, or know of, any projects with the following
> characteristics?
>  * might conceivably be interesting to undergraduate CS majors
>  * simple enough that someone could make some non-trivial
>    contributions in the space of 3 or 4 weeks

As interim maintainer of Takusen, I'll vouch for it and say that it
would be open and welcoming to such students.  Unfortunately, I'm not
sure if it qualifies as simple.  It uses a lot of FFI and functional
dependencies.  Otherwise, I think it would be simple enough.  Perhaps
with a bit of negotiation we could find suitable tasks.

One thing that was proposed for Takusen is to build compatibility
layers for other Haskell database libraries, such as HDBC.  This may
actually be a decent project for a student and would possibly free
them from the FFI and FDs bits of takusen.  The takusen project page
is here:

Another idea someone had for takusen was to make a type safe query
builder.  Right now Takusen itself only requires that the "query" can
be converted to string.  So in principle, we could add data types /
combinators for building SQL expressions and then have a QueryBuilder
-> String function.

Have you spoken to any other instructors that have used open source
contributions as part of a course?  I know that at Oregon State
University, Dr. Budd has been teaching a class about open source (and
how to get started) for several years.  I'm sure he'd love to give you
advice and he's very friendly.  Here is a webpage with contact info:

For the students that do want to contribute to open source, you might
encourage them to read Karl Fogel's, "Producing Open Source Software":

>  * could use some help!

At one point I was putting together a series of example OpenGL
programs in Haskell.  It's bitrotted these days and I'm not sure it
needs updated to work with newer versions of HOpenGL.  Interested
students could polish it up and add more examples to it.  I was
translating examples from other languages, but creative students could
invent their own examples.

And, as I'm sure Don Stewart will point out, there is the Haskell
reddit list of projects, although possibly too ambitious for 3-4

The Date/Time api might be a good one from that list while running
haskell code under google's native client is probably a bit too much
to ask for :)

I hope that helps,

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