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

Conal Elliott conal at conal.net
Mon Sep 30 20:32:24 CEST 2013

Hi Conrad,

Great. The challenge is not specific to Pan, Vertigo, etc. If we can get
some low-level GUI platform working with the characteristics I listed, I
can resurrect and my high-level libraries accordingly. Any GUI program
containing at least one OpenGL window would probably get us most of the way
there (again, noting the properties I listed).

-- Conal

On Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 1:40 AM, Conrad Parker <conrad at metadecks.org> wrote:

> Hi Conal!
> Yes. I'd be very interested to help get Pan and Vertigo working. Do you
> have a repo somewhere?
> Conrad.
> On 27 September 2013 13:32, 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:
>> * 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.
>> Looking forward to replies. Thanks,
>> -- Conal
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