[Colin Paul Adams] Re: Proposal: Define UTF-8 to be the encoding of Haskell source files

Bas van Dijk v.dijk.bas at gmail.com
Wed Apr 6 20:02:23 CEST 2011

On 6 April 2011 17:34, Colin Paul Adams <colin at colina.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> I forgot to CC the list:
>>>>>> "Roel" == Roel van Dijk <vandijk.roel at gmail.com> writes:
>    Roel> I propose to make UTF-8 the only allowed encoding for Haskell
>    Roel> source files. Implementations must discard an initial Byte
>    Roel> Order Mark (BOM) if present [3].
>    Roel> * Pros - Ensures that Haskell source can be reliably exchanged
>    Roel> on the byte level.  - Disallows implicit ISO-8859-* encodings
>    Roel> in source code, ensuring portability.  - Little or no
>    Roel> implementation burden for compiler writers.
> Having thought this over a bit more, I don't think it's a good idea.
> Allowed? Allowed for what?

Allowed to be called a Haskell file.

If the report doesn't specify what a Haskell file is then we can't
reliably exchange Haskell source files by only looking at the files

> What does it achieve? Nothing, as far as I can see. Authors will still
> be able to write their Haskell code in any encoding they like. And any
> compiler can have a front-end script with an option to specify the
> encoding used by source files, which simply uses iconv on the fly to
> translate.

Suppose I give you MyHaskellFile.hs. But before telling you how it's
encoded I go gliding (a hobby of mine). Unfortunately I crash my
glider and die :-(. Now what encoding option do you give to your
front-end script?

> I think the real place to mandate UTF-8 would be for Hackage. That's
> where it matters (an alternative design would be to add an encoding
> field in the .cabal file, but I don't think this has much merit).

That would only allow users of Hackage and Cabal to reliably exchange
their Haskell files. If we specify it in the report every user can



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