[Haskell-cafe] technical thoughts on stack

Paolo Giarrusso p.giarrusso at gmail.com
Tue Sep 13 20:08:58 UTC 2016

On Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 8:58:53 PM UTC+2, Richard Eisenberg wrote:
> I’ve watched the recent back-and-forth about stack with quite a bit of 
> interest (as many of us have). The discussion inspired me to take another 
> look at stack. Here are the results of that foray.
> First, a disclosure: While I have appreciated the emergence of a new build 
> tool for Haskell, I have never much liked stack. One of my chief goals in 
> taking another look is to understand better why I do not like it.

> At this point, I am reminded why I dislike stack:
> **It’s optimized for a different workflow than I use.**
> And I think this fact (repeated by others’ experiences) is why a segment 
> of our community has not celebrated stack as much as other segments have. 
> We all have different workflows. 
> From what I understand about it, stack is great for a project-based 
> workflow. In this workflow, you are working on a Haskell project. You are 
> happy to specify settings in .cabal and stack.yaml files. And you really 
> want your build to work in the future and on other machines.
> In my experience, stack is not great with a compiler-based workflow. In 
> this workflow, you aren’t quite as organized perhaps and do not have all 
> your settings written. You also want the ability just to compile a file 
> without changing any configurations. You want to be able to start GHCi with 
> a nice set of libraries with which to experiment.

I think this is insightful, but this is also (in part) about different kind 
of projects: applications versus libraries. Not accidentally, if you 
maintain a Hackage library, stack docs recommend you setup CI with both 
stack and cabal. (Though I'll still use stack for local development for a 


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