[Haskell-cafe] Officially supported Android backend, GSoC?

Ivan Perez ivan.perez at keera.co.uk
Mon Feb 9 07:56:56 UTC 2015

Hi Café

For the past few years I have done quite a lot of work in functional 
languages targeting mobile platforms. I've tried every functional 
language I could find.

GHC targets Android via Neurocyte's (and JoeyH's) backend [1], although, 
afaik, this is not officially supported. There have been recent 
discussions on strategies to improve the current state, especially wrt. TH.

Nevertheless, the progress is amazing and the backend works very well. I 
haven't found any major bugs. We've successfully used this at Keera 
Studios to write multiple games [2,3,4], and I've also written small 
applications for Google Glass (yes, Haskell works on Glass!). Users are 
running the games on different Android devices (with different hardware 
and OS version), and none of them has reported any (ghc-related) bugs so 

Haskell's ability to 'write once, run anywhere' could be a major selling 
point. Soon Haskell might become one of the very few functional 
languages that can target any platform, be it web, desktop or mobile, 
with minimal changes to the codebase (F# can do all of this; but, apart 
from language differences, developing and deploying software for Android 
is not free as in beer).

So, I'd like to ask:
1) Does officially supporting the Android backend sound like a 
(strategically) reasonable and viable idea?
2) What would it take? Could a Google Summer of Code project help get 
things up to speed? (The project proposal deadline is probably very soon.)


[1] https://github.com/neurocyte/ghc-android
[2] http://tiny.cc/w53rtx (Link to Facebook photo, visible without a FB 
[3] http://tiny.cc/l73rtx (Link to Facebook photo, visible without a FB 
[4] http://tiny.cc/e83rtx (Link to Facebook photo, visible without a FB 

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