[Haskell-cafe] Poll & plea: State of GUI & graphics libraries in Haskell

Alp Mestanogullari alpmestan
Sat Oct 5 00:11:06 UTC 2013

If these said libraries let us write a good API on top, then perfect! The
problem is to actually pick the ones fulfilling our needs I think, all the
major candidatures have pretty serious drawbacks, AFAIK.

On Sat, Oct 5, 2013 at 12:36 AM, Robin KAY <komadori at gekkou.co.uk> wrote:

> Dear Alp,
> Alp Mestanogullari wrote:
> [snip]
>  I have been willing to have a nice GUI DSEL with good aesthetics for a
>> while. I think the hardest part wouldn't be the API, but really what
>> library we use underneath so that it's cross-platform and easy to install
>> for everyone. But I would love for something like that to happen and am
>> very interested in this.
> Herein lies, for my purposes, the downfall of attempts to build GUI
> tool-kits on top of a blank canvas. From the perspective of binding to the
> platform, getting the basic functionality of a cross-platform GLUT or SDL
> equivalent isn't terribly difficult. You can layer your own widget system
> on top but even if you don't care about native look and feel (and I don't
> particularly), there are still three big functionality hurdles in my mind
> to building serious applications:-
> i) Proper text rendering is more difficult than placing one glyph after
> another on a line. You need to bind to each platform's text rendering
> engine: Pango/others, Uniscribe, and Core Text.
> ii) Proper text input is more difficult than listening for key press and
> release events. You need to bind to the each platform's input method
> system: XIM/IBus/others, IMM, and NSTextInputClient.
> iii) Proper accessibility is just difficult.
> There are plenty of applications where that doesn't matter and there are
> lots of attractive things about a pure Haskell implementation with
> beautiful high-level API. However, from my perspective, there are also
> attractions to outsourcing as much of that work as possible to existing
> libraries on the other side of the FFI even though that seems to bring us
> down to lower-level.
> Regards,
> --
> Robin KAY
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Alp Mestanogullari
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