[Haskell-cafe] Subcategories on Hackage

Paolino paolo.veronelli at gmail.com
Sun Jun 5 12:39:32 CEST 2011

I think there are two reasons to browse the hackage database.

First reason reflects the common need to find a library that suites one's
needs. In this case it's very easy to find it with google adding "hackage"
"haskell" to the submitted word list.

Second reason is to have a nice landscape of packages when one enters the
For the second reason, which is real browsing, categories are a pain,
whoever and however they are done. The more they are correct , the more they
are difficult to understand. The more they are easy like tags the more it's
difficult to put them in a hierarchy.
One well known solution is to put tags in a high dimensional space where the
tag names and distance between tags is defined by statistics on the tags
cloud of each tag holder (packages). In this case browsing is jumping from
one tag to another *near* one in the tag space and see the packages *around*
, while inserting new packages changes the position of the tags in their
An easiest , but somewhat wrong, solution is give each tag a dimension and
have the packages in the space to browse.

Ontologies are more on formalising the meaning (seen as interrelations) of
concepts, which tags are not, and I don't think even software categories
are. But this is really debatable.

my 2 cents


2011/6/5 Evan Laforge <qdunkan at gmail.com>

> On Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 7:46 PM, Felipe Almeida Lessa
> <felipe.lessa at gmail.com> wrote:
> > tl;dr: I don't think ontologies are suitable for Hackage.
> I think I agree.  For instance, I just uploaded fix-imports and had to
> decide which categories it is in.  It manages imports, which is
> IDE-like and people looking for IDE-like features might be interested,
> so IDE.  It's concerned with haskell itself, so Haskell.  And it's
> meant to be used with an editor, though it isn't an editor itself, so
> Editor.  It's actually none of those things, but there's no specific
> category for it, and if there were I think it would be too small to be
> useful.  So I picked things I think people who might be interested in
> it would be searching for.
> I don't think a hierarchy would have helped in this case, but tags
> would be appropriate.  Actually, I wound up using the categories like
> tags.  I think we just need better search, e.g. +tag +tag or
> something.
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