[Haskell-cafe] Minimizing cascading rebuilds

Rahul Muttineni rahulmutt at gmail.com
Thu Mar 29 06:14:47 UTC 2018

Hi Josh,

I just tried a quick experiment with stack resolver lts-11.2 and I'd like
to share the results as there are interesting:

1. Consider the following module setup that's a simplified version of your
- Main depends on Hi
- Hi depends on Hum
- Hee depends on Hum

module Main where

import Hi
import Hee

main :: IO ()
main = print $ hi ++ hee ++ "!"

module Hee (hee) where

import Hum (hum)

hee :: String
hee = "hee1" ++ hum

module Hi (hi) where

import Hum (hum)

hi :: String
hi = "hi1" ++ hum

module Hum (hum) where

hum :: String
hum = "hum"

2. Now build it once with `stack build`.
3. Now change "hum" to "hum1" and run `stack build` notice that all 4
modules will recompile.
4. Now add {-# NOINLINE hum #-} just above hum :: String and run `stack
5. Change hum again and run `stack build`.
6. Only Hum will recompile!

Lesson: Add NOINLINE to any function/value that you change frequently and
don't want to trigger massive recompilations. This does come at a
performace tradeoff since GHC will not be able to inline whatever you added
that pragma to, but your compile-time will be saved. In your case of
hard-coded data, I think you won't be able to measure any performance

Hope that helps,

On Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 10:39 AM, ☂Josh Chia (謝任中) <joshchia at gmail.com>

> Hi,
> In my project, I have multiple packages. One of the packages, packageA, is
> very fundamental and depended on directly and indirectly by almost all the
> other packages. It has functions that use some hard-coded data (a
> ByteString top-level variable) also defined within packageA.
> This hard-coded data is appended regularly, causing packageA to be rebuilt
> and thus almost all the other packages to be rebuilt, and building takes a
> painfully long time. I know I can move this hard-coded data to a file
> that's read at run-time, but that means one more item to plumb in at
> run-time (where to find the file), and IO (preventing the functions from
> being pure), so I would like to keep it hard-coded.
> Is there an elegant way to prevent or minimize the cascading rebuild of
> the dependent packages just because the hard-coded data in packageA changed?
> For analogy, in C or C++, source code gets compiled to .o files, one for
> each .cpp source file. Multiple .o files get linked into executables. So,
> unless the interface (.hpp files) also change, an implementation (.cpp
> file) change does not cause dependents to be recompiled to get new .o
> files, although dependent executables get relinked. I'm not familiar with
> the compilation and linking logic in GHC so maybe it has additional
> complications.
> BTW, I'm using stack, in case it makes any difference to the nature of the
> problem.
> Josh
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Rahul Muttineni
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