A prototype explorer for Haskell

Jan Skibinski jans@numeric-quest.com
Fri, 10 Nov 2000 07:51:42 -0500 (EST)

On Fri, 10 Nov 2000, Paul Hudak wrote:

> Good work Jan.  I have two comments/questions:

	Thank you, Paul (and all the others that responded privately).
> 1) Why can't we do this sort of thing in a Haskell GUI tool such as
> FranTk?  What is missing that would make it as easy as in Squeak?

	If you take the adverb "easy" away then my answer would
	be "nothing".

	I do not want to preach Squeak. I've done enough of it
	already. But the reality is that Smalltalk has excellent
	IDE tools, proven by 20 years of practice. What I have
	shown on the web pages is just a tip of the iceberg.
	And those tools can be easily adapted to other tasks,
	far from their original concept of usage.

	For example, the Object Inspector.. This is in fact
	one of debug tools. Had I chosen to use its original version
	you would have seen much more verbose printout on
	my web page - telling you what exactly you are looking
	at: strings, arrays, dictionaries; their full contents, 
	etc. But for this application all of that would be irrelevant
	and unneceserily foggy. So I browsed several related 
	classes (using of course Squeak's IDE) and finally found
	three methods to adjust. Instead of modifying the original
	classes, I subclassed - getting in effect quite different
	customized tool. That was quite inexpensive thing to do.
	From then on I could concentrate on the task on hand:
	understanding what I am receiving from Hugs and deciding
	on how to structure and present the data.

	Anyone could have done it easily. It's just that one
	day I was struck by a thought: what's so sacred about
	interlanguage marriages? Do they really have to be
	close in spirit to qualify? Like C and C++? Maybe this
	is why we still do not have any decent front end tools for
	Haskell? And then another thought: How about an unlikely
	aliance of the purest functional language with the purest
	object oriented language? No compromises! And do not
	worry, Haskell could not possibly get polluted - after
	all it has monads standing on guard! :-)

> 2) Why can't we as a community create "front-end" tools such as this
> that can be used with several compiler back-ends?  
> [cut]

	A gui-less universal support would be quite useful too, 
	so GUI tools from any toolkit, could tap to something
	common for all Haskell environments, not necesserily Hugs.