[Haskell-cafe] safe lazy IO or Iteratee?

David Leimbach leimy2k at gmail.com
Thu Feb 4 16:12:24 EST 2010

Thanks for the detailed response below...

I must be able to understand how the resources will be used in my system for
mission-critical, long-running applications.


On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 12:51 PM, John Millikin <jmillikin at gmail.com> wrote:

> Both have advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage of lazy
> IO over iteratees is that it's much, *much* easier to understand --
> existing experience with monads can be used immediately. The downsides
> of lazy IO, of course, are well documented[1][2][3].
> Some are fixed by the safe/strict IO packages. However, safe lazy IO
> is still "unpredictable" in that it's difficult to know how many
> resources will be used, the order of some operations (eg, releasing
> handles), or whether some particular expression will throw an
> exception.
> Iteratees are useful because the author can make and verify guarantees
> about performance (eg, "this code will never read more than 4 KiB at
> once"). They also allow pure code to determine the behavior of IO,
> safely, which is useful when writing libraries which must deal with
> large amounts of data (eg, streaming a file over HTTP). The Hyena web
> server is written using iteratees, and from what I've heard the
> authors have been quite happy with their properties.
> I've also found iteratees to perform somewhat better than lazy IO,
> though I don't know why.
> Downside: iteratees are very hard to understand. I wrote a
> decently-sized article about them[4] trying to figure out how to make
> them useful, and some comments in one of Oleg's implementations[5]
> suggest that the "iteratee" package is subtly wrong. Oleg has written
> at least three versions (non-monadic, monadic, monadic CPS) and I've
> no idea why or whether their differences are important. Even dons says
> he didn't understand them until after writing his own iteratee-based
> IO layer[6].
> tl;dr: Lots of smart people, with a history of being right about this
> sort of thing, say iteratees are better. Evidence suggests
> iteratee-based IO is faster and more predictable than lazy IO.
> Iteratees are really hard to understand.
> [1] http://okmij.org/ftp/Haskell/Iteratee/Lazy-vs-correct.txt
> [2]
> http://www.kuliniewicz.org/blog/archives/2010/01/27/happstack-and-streaming-part-4-the-flaw/
> [3] http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=46780
> [4] http://ianen.org/articles/understanding-iteratees/
> [5] http://okmij.org/ftp/Haskell/Iteratee/IterateeM.hs , search for
> "Drawbacks of this encoding"
> [6]
> http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1319705/introduction-or-simple-examples-for-iteratee
> On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 08:29, David Leimbach <leimy2k at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hi everyone,
> > This is not an attempt to start a flame war.  I'm just trying to get a
> good
> > feel for the advantages and disadvantages of the newer safe lazy io lib
> > available on Hackage vs using Iteratee.
> > It does appear to me that using something like Itereatee gives a bit of
> room
> > to really tweak the low level enumerator/iteratee relationship, and, if
> you
> > asked my old boss, I'm just a big fan of folds too, I use them a lot in
> my
> > Erlang :-), so Iteratee really does appeal to me on many levels.
> > Yet at the same time, I'm quite enamored with the beauty of "interact"
> and
> > functions of that sort.  I realize mixing the effects of the lazy IO and
> > pure code may not be the clearest way to write code for everyone, but
> there
> > is something about being able to get linewise data as
> > interact (unlines . fmap someLineWiseFunction . lines)
> > that is just kind of cool.
> > Dave
> > _______________________________________________
> > Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> > Haskell-Cafe at haskell.org
> > http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
> >
> >
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://www.haskell.org/pipermail/haskell-cafe/attachments/20100204/1cebbef2/attachment.html

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list