The future of Haskell discussion

Jeffrey Palmer
14 Sep 2001 17:06:49 -0500

On Fri, 2001-09-14 at 15:12, Mark Carroll wrote:
> On Fri, 14 Sep 2001, Bill Halchin wrote:
> >    Probably this question has been brought before. Besides the Preludes,
> > why doesn't
> > 
> > Haskell have libraries like Java, Squeak (Smalltalk). I found this:
> (snip)
> I'm puzzled - it does! - see for some of
> them.

I think the question is more along the lines of "Why doesn't Haskell
come bundled with complete, useful and _supported_ libraries?"

For example, the Edison home page describes the library in this way: 

"in its current state, the library is mostly a framework.  That is, I
provide signatures, but not yet very many implementations..."  

This is not the type of thing that your standard software engineer wants
to hear.  Professional software developers need to be highly productive,
and are often unwilling to invest time learning libraries that aren't
part of the core language environment.  However you feel about the
design of the Java Collections API, at least it's a supported part of
the language.  Developers feel comfortable that any time spent learning
the how to use these APIs is worthwhile.

I felt this very recently when looking for a quality GUI framework for
Haskell.  There appear to be many(!) libraries available, and all seem
to be in various states of completion.  Personally, I would like to see
someone complete the port of the Clean library that was attempted, as
that library seems to have been pretty battle-tested, and there are lots
of good, real-world examples.

That, I suppose, is the key point.  Whatever libraries are chosen for
final inclusion in the Haskell environment, they should be treated as
integral to the language experience.  Extensive documentation and
examples should exist, perhaps of book length (I really liked Hudak's
text for this reason, and only wish that it had been written with the
"standard" Haskell GUI libs).  Finally, any libraries should be beaten
upon to such an extent that there is a solid guarantee that they are
"safe" for production use.


	- j

Jeffrey Palmer
Curious Networks, Inc.