[Haskell-cafe] CEF3 bindings and game dev in Haskell

Maksymilian Owsianny maksymilian.owsianny at gmail.com
Fri Mar 10 06:03:12 UTC 2017

I... I'm not sure I follow...  What I am talking about in that example
is using the threepenny-gui[1]. And yes I believe that there is a bit
of javascript involved to manipulate the DOM, but the thing is that
the user (of that library) doesn't need to know this. The user writes
all of the logic in haskell.


[1]: https://hackage.haskell.org/package/threepenny-gui

On Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 4:36 AM, MarLinn <monkleyon at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 2017-03-10 01:19, Maksymilian Owsianny wrote:
> The thing about this solution is, its simplicity. You can use the
> skills of front end (HTML/CSS) people to design your GUI, you can then
> build it using something like threepenny and render it to texture
> using cef. You can use the skills and tools that already exist.
> I agree that this solution is sub optimal, that including a whole
> browser inside your application can be a bit much. But I believe that
> at least having an option will be much better for the community then
> not.
> Cheers,
> Max.
> Mhh… I get what you're getting at. But what can you really do with
> HTML+CSS without scripts? Ok, admittedly you can do a lot via crude tricks.
> You can create tabs, menus, pop-ups and loads of other stuff with
> pseudo-classes and pseudo-elements if you really want. But your average
> front-end-web-dev will not be used to using such tricks because on the web,
> everything is JS. And such hacks are an abuse of the tools anyway. So
> basically what you will get in practice with HTML+CSS are static pages or
> forms that you have to tie together somehow. So far so good, it's better
> than nothing. But we already have a really great, convenient library for
> static "pictures" with loads of existing back-ends – diagrams! Diagrams can
> even carry generic queries that you could fill with stuff like FRP
> endpoints. What's missing to fulfill your goal is a Parser that creates
> diagrams from HTML+CSS – which, of course, is basically a variation of one
> of the main purposes of a browser engine.
> While that brings me back to the beginning, it seems to open a perspective
> for the future. Would you say it might be possible to start with chromium
> integration and then push it out again bit by bit by replacing it with the
> existing tools? For example would it be possible in the mid-term to "only"
> use the chromium parser but not the presentation layer, or vice-versa?
> I feel there might even be a hidden path to a solution to our core web dev
> problems hidden here, but for now I fail to see specifics.
> Cheers,
> MarLinn
> On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 11:53 PM, MarLinn <monkleyon at gmail.com> wrote:
>> [Ack. Forgot to reply-to-list, and ran into the list's bad handling of
>> gmail addresses again. So sorry for possible multi-posts.]
>> I agree that our GUI story is still bad.
>> But I don't understand what chromium has to do with either game dev or a
>> good GUI story? If I want to write a real game, I use *SDL2* bindings.
>> If I want to write a website, I use something like *Yesod*. If I want to
>> write browser games or "dynamic web sites", I throw JavaScript libraries at
>> the walls, see what sticks, call it "modern coding", go to the liquor store
>> and reconsider my life.
>> All joking aside, it's nice to see someone take a different path than
>> usual, organization-wise. I do disagree on the technical path though. We
>> already have a lot of bindings to several cross-platform frameworks and
>> libraries, including QT, GTK, FLTK, and the aforementioned SDL2. But they
>> suffer from impedance mismatch and lack of use and thus, community support.
>> To solve that I would say what we need is a nice middle layer to translate
>> functional thinking into framework models. We do have the *diagrams*
>> package for describing static diagrams in a functional way, but it largely
>> lacks dynamic behavior. (There's some support for animations, but it
>> doesn't fill me with confidence.) We also have several attempts at FRP
>> libraries for dynamic behavior, but few interactions with bindings. What is
>> still missing is something like a dynamic version of *diagrams* that is
>> based on one of these FRP libraries and that can work with one or several
>> of the bindings as a back-end – possibly with a Haskell-side widget
>> library. Possibly with css-like runtime styling And if we have that, yeah,
>> we can add chromium bindings or whatever. Or write our own browser engine
>> for fun. As far as I know there were several attempts but all fizzled out
>> at some point.
>> My own favorite approach goes even further. I propose that many of the
>> problems arise because the existing frameworks impose too many
>> non-functional ideas, so the "purest" way to go forward would be a fresh
>> framework on the basis of only *SDL* and *reactive banana*. That might
>> sound like overkill for a simple non-game GUI, but is it really if the
>> alternative is a whole browser? And what's more, that approach could be
>> pursued in a way that might be turned into the one mentioned above later on.
>> What these approaches need is not more c tools or more cross-platform
>> shenanigans, but some ideas how to handle a complex dynamic tangle of
>> widget trees in a generic, functional fashion. Which to me has the added
>> benefit of sounding much more like "fun". So I'm still working on that
>> second approach whenever I have some time, but like yours, my time is
>> limited.
>> Be assured, I don't want to diminish your work, it's probably useful to a
>> certain subset of programmers. What I'm disputing is just if it's the
>> single best way forward.
>> Cheers,
>> MarLinn
>> On 2017-03-09 22:52, Maksymilian Owsianny wrote:
>> Hey
>> I'm interested in making gamedev in haskell more viable and one thing
>> that I believe is missing in that part of the environment is a good
>> GUI story. So I decided to create proper bindings to cef3, you can
>> check out what I've done so far [here][1]. In this current version
>> I basically took the work done by Daniel Austin [here][2] split it
>> into parts to prevent my machine from dying from lack of memory and
>> packed it up with some nix glue for convenient usage. Now all this
>> doesn't look like much but it sill took me much more time then I'm
>> willing to admit in public. That's one of the eternal truths of
>> software development, that everything always takes an order of
>> magnitude more time then you suspect it would.
>> Anyway, what I would like to do here is add support for all platforms.
>> Create some nice scripts that help with automatizing building,
>> developing and deployment of code with this library for users.
>> Possibly write a script that automatically generates bindings from
>> c headers to bring this lib up to speed with the current version of
>> cef. Write some proper guides on using this lib for creating game GUI
>> or standalone desktop application. All of that is nice and well to
>> wish for but it is quite a lot of frankly not very fun work. If I had
>> to choose I would rather spend my time working on either something fun
>> or something that pays the rent, so usually at this point I stop and
>> walk away. But this time I decided to go about it differently, and ask
>> for community support. I have set up a BountySource campaign [here][3]
>> so I could focus on making this happen. Alternatively, if that's your
>> thing, I have set up a bitcoin address [4].
>> Depending on how well this campaign will go I'm also planing on
>> creating a full 2D game engine... but yeah, that's in the future.
>> So yeah, if you'd like to help me build this please support me.
>> Thanks,
>> Max.
>> [1]: https://github.com/haskell-ui/cef3-raw
>> [2]: https://github.com/fluffynukeit/bindings-cef3
>> [3]: https://salt.bountysource.com/teams/haskell-ui
>> [4]: 1LskxSUyLDLpMCBfUUnqcRT8mEFMW511Eq
>> PS. I have also created a reddit thread for this proposal here <https://www.reddit.com/r/haskell/comments/5yi1b7/cef3_bindings_and_game_dev_in_haskell/>.
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