[Haskell-cafe] Standard package file format

Andrew Butterfield Andrew.Butterfield at scss.tcd.ie
Fri Sep 16 08:59:48 UTC 2016

> On 16 Sep 2016, at 09:24, Chris Smith <cdsmith at gmail.com> wrote:
> I guess the overriding question I have here is: what is the PROBLEM being solved?  I know of basically no beginners who were confused or intimidated by the syntax of Cabal's file format. 

As a "beginner"(*), I fully agree.
However having more than one language in the mix can be confusing and complicating...

> It's fairly commonplace for beginners to be confused by the *semantics*: which fields are needed and what they mean, how package version bounds work, what flags are and how they interact with dependencies, the relationship between libraries and executables defined in the same file, etc. 

It's all about the semantics - it should preferably be formalised, and ideally the relevant library/package system should be able to check/enforce rules.

> But the syntax?  It's just not an issue.  I'm not sure what it means to say that people have to "learn" it, because in introducing dozens of people to building things in Haskell, I've never seen that learning process even be noticeable, much less an impediment.

I quite agree

Andrew Butterfield
School of Computer Science & Statistics
Trinity College
Dublin 2, Ireland

(*) I've only started to use cabal recently, because a TA of mine built a cabal-based coursework grading system for me - I generally do application devpt in Haskell
and the only build command I need is ghc --make.... Currently moving quickly onto stack this year....

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