proposal: standardize interface to Haskell' implementations

Jan-Willem Maessen jmaessen at
Mon Feb 13 10:05:00 EST 2006

On Feb 12, 2006, at 5:42 PM, Claus Reinke wrote:

> ...
> these days, there is some momentum for providing Haskell with
> various tools for refactoring, documentation, profiling, tracing,  
> instance generators, analyzers, pre-processors for extensions,
> editor modes, interactive interfaces (textual, graphical, visual),
> .. and even first ides, but all that is hampered by the lack of a  
> standardized interface to functionality that exists in every single  
> Haskell implementation: parsing, type checking, AST, (pretty  
> printing,) semantic information, (evaluation).
> that functionality is common to most tools, hard (and unneccessary)  
> work to reimplement, and almost impossible to keep up to date,  
> diverting precious man-power from small teams
> trying to provide much needed tools.

I agree strongly with the need for a standard parser/AST/typechecker  
to enable tools and extensions.  That's why Fortress contains an AST  
specification!  So naturally I'd love it if Haskell had one, too.  It  
should probably include:
   * Parser
   * Standard AST types (which might be extended in particular  
   * Type checker which produces a decorated AST (again, extended in  
particular implementations)
   * A renamer turns out to be awfully useful/necessary; this raises  
the sticky question of how imports are specified.  It'd be nice *not*  
to have to dredge up the old .hi files, as they tended to require  
compilers to extend the .hi format in really non-standard ways.

-Jan-Willem Maessen

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