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

Rustom Mody rustompmody at gmail.com
Sat Sep 28 14:13:53 CEST 2013

On Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 9:02 AM, Conal Elliott <conal at conal.net> 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:
> [Disclaimer: In accordance with the principle that the amount that one
speaks should be in proportion to the amount one knows, about GUI toolkits
I should say nothing . Just offering my thoughts, more on the side of
things I know -- programming languages and their history -- than not!]

When I first heard of perl (early 90s)  the claim was that the same
language ran on Unix and DOS. I was incredulous. Implicitly I believed that
the only program that could run unchanged on 'never-the-twain-shall-meet'
territory was something that tended to the limiting the null program:
main() {}

What perl showed and the benchmark set for all the following scripting --
Ruby, Python etc -- revolution was that the old idea of C's portability had
given way to a new one. In the C world portability meant simply passively
avoiding non-portable features, in the new scripting world it meant
actively writing bridge code to reunite gratuitous differences: eg the
'universal newline' in some languages like python.

In short: The C world had given up on portability.
The scripting language world chose to bite the bullet
That choice may be a bigger factor in their success than people realize.

So my point for the GUI question is this: In addition to Conal's list

> * cross-platform,
> * easily buildable,
> * GHCi-friendly, and
> * OpenGL-compatible.

there are two other current holy-grails to chase:

a. Browser-Desktop portability: eg pyjamas

b. Touch devices allowing for 'Natural user interface'[1]: Generalizing the
40 year old mouse-model to modern touch devices eg

How difficult/doable is this? As I said, I am too much of an ignoramus to

Hopefully the perl/scripting-language example will prompt more
knowledgeable/capable persons to at least consider the possibility of
chewing on a bullet…

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_User_Interface



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