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

Tikhon Jelvis tikhon at jelv.is
Fri Sep 27 10:53:26 CEST 2013

Could threepenny work with webGL, or is that too far out of the scope of
the project? I guess the overhead of having a server--even locally--and
using a web browser might just be too much for many use cases.
On Sep 27, 2013 1:51 AM, "Heinrich Apfelmus" <apfelmus at quantentunnel.de>

> Conal Elliott wrote:
>> I'm polling to see whether there are will and expertise to reboot graphics
>> and GUIs work in Haskell. I miss working on functional graphics and GUIs
>> in
>> Haskell, as I've been blocked for several years (eight?) due to the
>> absence
>> of low-level foundation libraries having the following properties:
>> * cross-platform,
>> * easily buildable,
>> * GHCi-friendly, and
>> * OpenGL-compatible.
>> The last several times I tried Gtk2hs, I was unable to compile it on my
>> Mac. Years ago when I was able to compile, the GUIs looked and interacted
>> like a Linux app, which made them awkward and upleasant to use. wxHaskell
>> (whose API and visual appearance I prefered) has for years been
>> incompatible with GHCi, in that the second time I open a top-level window,
>> the host process (GHCi) dies abruptly. Since my GUI & graphics programs
>> are
>> often one-liners, and I tend to experiment a lot, using a full compilation
>> greatly thwarts my flow. For many years, I've thought that the situation
>> would eventually improve, since I'm far from the only person who wants
>> GUIs
>> or graphics from Haskell.
>> About three years ago, I built a modern replacement of my old Pan and
>> Vertigo systems (optimized high-level functional graphics in 2D and 3D),
>> generating screamingly fast GPU rendering code. I'd love to share it with
>> the community, but I'm unable to use it even myself.
>> Two questions:
>> * Am I mistaken about the current status? I.e., is there a solution for
>> Haskell GUI & graphics programming that satisfies the properties I'm
>> looking for (cross-platform, easily buildable, GHCi-friendly, and
>> OpenGL-compatible)?
>> * Are there people willing and able to fix this situation? My own
>> contributions would be to test and to share high-level composable and
>> efficient GUI and graphics libraries on top of a working foundation.
> Hello Conal,
> I have been similarly dissatisfied with the state of GUI libraries in
> Haskell and have finally started working on one myself: [threepenny-gui][1].
> Threepenny-gui uses the web browser as a display, which means that it's
> cross-platform, easy to install and works from GHCi! On the flip side, it
> doesn't support native OpenGL.
>   [1]: http://www.haskell.org/**haskellwiki/Threepenny-gui<http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Threepenny-gui>
> Best regards,
> Heinrich Apfelmus
> --
> http://apfelmus.nfshost.com
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