[Haskell-cafe] Re: GSOC Haskell Project

Jason Dagit dagit at codersbase.com
Wed Mar 31 11:40:21 EDT 2010

On Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 7:21 AM, Simon Marlow <marlowsd at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 30/03/2010 20:57, Mihai Maruseac wrote:
>  I'd like to introduce my idea for the Haskell GSOC of this year. In
>> fact, you already know about it, since I've talked about it here on
>> the haskell-cafe, on my blog and on reddit (even on #haskell one day).
>> Basically, what I'm trying to do is a new debugger for Haskell, one
>> that would be very intuitive for beginners, a graphical one. I've
>> given some examples and more details on my blog [0], [1], also linked
>> on reditt and other places.
>> This is not the application, I'm posting this only to receive some
>> kind of feedback before writing it. I know that it seems to be a
>> little too ambitious but I do think that I can divide the work into
>> sessions and finish what I'll start this summer during the next year
>> and following.
>> [0]: http://pgraycode.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/haskell-project-idea/
>> [1]:
>> http://pgraycode.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/visual-haskell-debugger-part-2/
>> Thanks for your attention,
> My concerns would be:
>  - it doesn't look like it would scale very well beyond small
>   examples, the graphical representation would very quickly
>   get unwieldy, unless you have some heavyweight UI stuff
>   to make it navigable.
>  - it's too ambitious
>  - have you looked around to see what kind of debugging tools
>   people are asking for?  The most oft-requested feature is
>   stack traces, and there's lots of scope for doing something
>   there (but also many corpses littering the battlefield,
>   so watch out!)

I would be much more interested in seeing the foundations improved than I
would be in having nice things built on them.  In other words, I agree with
Simon that stack traces would be many times more valuable to me than
graphical representations.  Once the foundations are robust, then we can
build nice things on top of them.

Perhaps the reason you're interested in graphical representations is because
you want to help people 'visualize', or understand, the problem.  Not all
visualizations need to be graphical in the GUI sense.  It's really about
representing things in a way that helps humans reason about it.  Getting the
right information to people as they need it is probably the best place to

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