[Haskell-cafe] If you'd design a Haskell-like language, what would you do different?
gcrosswhite at gmail.com
Wed Dec 21 11:22:01 CET 2011
On Dec 20, 2011, at 11:18 PM, Heinrich Apfelmus wrote:
> Tillmann Rendel wrote:
>> Robert Clausecker wrote:
>>> Image you would create your own language with a paradigm similar to
>>> Haskell or have to chance to change Haskell without the need to keep any
>>> compatibility. What stuff would you add to your language, what stuff
>>> would you remove and what problems would you solve completely different?
>> I would try to improve the language's support for the embedding of domain-specific embedded languages (aka. combinator libraries). Such embedding requires the integration of a domain-specific language's syntax, static semantics and dynamic semantics. Some (more or less far fetched) ideas about these three areas follow.
> I think this is a very good point. The things I would like to see:
> * Better syntax for observable sharing. Doaitse Swierstra proposed a "grammer" construct that is basically a let statement where the binder names can be observed. I'm not entirely sure whether that is the most general or sufficient syntax, but something along these lines.
> * Meta-programming / partial evaluation. When designing a DSL, it is often the case that you know how to write an optimizing compiler for your DSL because it's usually a first-order language. However, trying to squeeze that into GHC rules is hopeless. Having some way of compiling code at run-time would solve that. Examples:
> ** Conal Elliott's image description language Pan
> ** Henning Thielemann's synthesizer-llvm
I am not disagreeing with anything that you have said here, but in a way it seems like the problem is more fundamental than all of these things since metaprogramming and type-programming in Haskell is not first-class, so it really isn't a language that is designed for DSLs even though people get a surprisingly long way abusing it for this purpose. :-) Really what we need is a language built from the ground up for this purpose, such as Lisp, but without the parts of Lisp that cause us to use Haskell instead. :-)
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