The future of Haskell discussion

Olaf Chitil
Wed, 12 Sep 2001 11:00:38 +0100

Here a short summary by Malcolm and me of the final discussion at the
Haskell workshop:

First Simon Peyton Jones stated that the Haskell'98 Report continues to
be revised in small ways for correctness and readability.  He will
continue this
until a whole month passes with no further changes, then issue a
finalised new version (so send bug reports now).

John Launchbury and many further people made a plea that the single
biggest hindrance to the further spread of Haskell is the lack of a
cross-platform GUI. Alas, no answer to the problem was found. There is
no agreement which (existing) library could be the basis of a standard
one and nobody wanted to commit himself to developing and supporting
such a library. Well, Manuel Chakravarty promised to continue developing
the GTK+ binding and would be happy about people helping him. (The GUI
library presented at the workshop is not intended to solve the standard
GUI problem.)

Rather than starting work on a successor to Haskell, people
generally want to see `blessed addendums' to the Report,
for common agreed extensions, e.g. FFI, exceptions,
concurrency, MPTC, fundeps, etc.  The FFI addendum is almost ready,
but any others need volunteers, not to mention agreement between
designers and implementations.  The idea is that a solid
reference definition/documentation of each extension should
exist independent of any particular compiler (but there is a lack
of volunteers).

It was noted that the future job of designing Haskell-2 will be
made much easier by many small steps rather than one large effort.

My personal comment about application letters: I think your idea of a
poster session with abstracts in the proceedings is very good. In fact,
anybody already had the possiblity to give a 10 minute talk. But there
was no special invitation to talk about applications and an abstract
would certainly be useful for people not attending or future reference.

Here a list of the 10 minute talks given at the workshop (Ralf, maybe
you can put them on the workshop web page?):

Simon Marlow: Haskell Libraries, The Next Generation
Presentation of the hierarchical structure. Need more libraries and
maintainers for them. Would like to have HaskellDoc and some standard
testing method.

Mark Shields: Lightweight Modules for Haskell
Shortly stated that he is working on a new module system and would like
every interested person to join.

Wolfram Kahl: Animating Haskell by Term Graph Rewriting
HOPS is a system for term graph rewriting that can also show the
rewriting steps in a graphical animation. Similar to GHood but all
intermediate redexes are shown. Translation of Haskell programs into
HOPS by hand. Useful especially for understanding space leaks. 

Martin Sulzmann: TIE: A CHR-based Type Inference Engine
He reformulates context simplification of Haskell classes in the
constraint handling rule formalism. This gives a flexible framework for
all kinds of extensions and variants of class systems. 

Manuel Chakravarty: A standard Foreign Function Interface for Haskell98
Basically finished (general part and C, not for Java). Solicits last
comments from the general community.

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