[Haskell-cafe] The Lisp Curse

Henning Thielemann lemming at henning-thielemann.de
Mon May 23 15:12:15 CEST 2011

On Thu, 19 May 2011, Andrew Coppin wrote:

> To all the people who look at Hackage, see that there are 6 different 
> libraries for processing Unicode text files, and claim that this is somehow a 
> *good* thing, I offer the above essay as a counter-example.

Recently I searched for an advanced way of handling command-line 
arguments, and found several packages on Hackage. Unfortunately they are 
all in different categories, what makes the categories almost useless. The 
second thing I checked, is the online Haddock documentation in order to 
see, whether the API makes sense to me. I like to know, how many 
extensions are required (I prefer Haskell 98) and how clean the package is 
written, e.g. I think that something simple as command-line parsing should 
be possible without an unsafe function. In the end I found none of the 
packages to fit my needs and I stuck to plain GetOpt.

Package ratings by certain criterias or by user votes would not help me 
much. Instead I like to get the information quickly, that helps me 
deciding, what package fits my needs best. E.g. Hackage could display the 
extensions used by a package, but it cannot just list the ones listed in 
the Cabal file, since modules can switch on extensions individually and 
also the extensions required by imported packages are needed. Maybe 
Hackage could allow to list or even rank packages according to criteria 
given by the user. In contrast to that, universal ratings would not help 
me much, but may frustrate authors, who's packages get bad ratings, 
because the expectations of its users differ from the ones of the author.

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