[Haskell-cafe] coding style vs. foreign interfaces

Anthony Cowley acowley at seas.upenn.edu
Mon Feb 7 17:26:30 CET 2011

On Sun, Feb 6, 2011 at 10:10 PM, Donn Cave <donn at avvanta.com> wrote:
> Of the people who are apt to be interested, a sizeable percentage
> already will be familiar with ALARM_STUFF_WENT_WRONG, and as the
> "nice" Haskell spelling offers no practical advantage at all, it's
> purely a waste of their time to translate from one to the other.
> Is screenflicker_frequency() going to be screenFlickerFrequency,
> or screenflickerFrequency?  gah!

I don't think it's this simple. It is disheartening to innocently
download a library from Hackage to find that it only supports a very
non-Haskelly API. Why am I being punished by the history of a library?
To support both kinds of users, we have designs like that used in the
OpenGL library: a Foo-Raw library, with a friendlier API layered on
top, perhaps in a separate package. If the "friendly" API turns out to
be no friend of yours, you are free to turn to the raw wrappers.

Perhaps we should aim for a more systematic application of this design
pattern? I know that I appreciate a more idiomatic Haskell API when it
is available, and certainly do not want library authors discouraged
from providing such a service solely due to the provenance of the
functionality. On the other hand, when I am porting, say, C coded
against a particular API to Haskell, being able to use a more
symmetric API is beneficial.

One can keep both APIs in the same package until a legitimate desire
to split them arises (e.g. to provide alternate high-level APIs).


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