Special Invitation :-) HC&A Report (November 2003) (fwd)

Malcolm Wallace Malcolm.Wallace at cs.york.ac.uk
Tue Oct 28 11:11:54 EST 2003

"C.Reinke" <C.Reinke at kent.ac.uk> writes:

> That includes individual libraries, developments in the hierarchical
> libraries (Simon M., the usual contact for this, is away;), as well
> as the discussions (Haskell WS & after) about library
> infrastructure, and your conclusions and plans. In short, anything
> interesting that happened on this list but may not have reached the
> general Haskeller yet.

Since Simon is away, I thought I would attempt to write a general
introduction to the meta-activity in the libraries area (see below).
However, rather than usurp his title by stealth, I am posting my
summary to the libraries list so that anyone can edit/improve it.
Please feel free to write a better summary and submit it to Claus!

(And individuals who have been proposing infrastructural things
might want to add a few more paragraphs of detail on their own


HC&A Report - Hierarchical libraries

Apart from actually writing libraries that do stuff, recent
meta-activity in the libraries community has concentrated on plans for
making libraries easier to install, to distribute, to maintain, and
therefore also easier to write and contribute to Haskellers at large.

Isaac Jones <ijones at syntaxpolice.org> has been leading the effort in
bringing together a proposal for a common distribution/installation
mechanism.  The aim is for a general framework that can be re-used
by anyone wanting to contribute a library, so that they can be sure
it will work uniformly across all the compilers/interpreters without
too much effort.  It covers such areas as automated configure/build,
library registration, dependencies on other library packages, and
automatic re-installation when a compiler version is updated.

Meanwhile, the two Simons at GHC-HQ have been proposing an improved
'package' mechanism for the compilers/interpreters themselves.
This proposal aims to create a more flexible 'backend' for library
usage, such that libraries can be re-located within the hierarchy,
and different versions of a library can co-exist together.

In other recent news, the common 'base' package of libraries has
recently been subdivided to separate off non-core functionality, making
the core more stable, whilst enabling independent evolution of the
other libraries.  The split-off packages include parsec, QuickCheck,
and the monad transformers.  Other packages resident in the haskell.org
CVS tree include OpenGL, GLUT, HaXml, Japi (Java API), ObjectIO,
Win32, X11, HGL (Haskell Graphics Library), haskell-src, network,
readline, and unix.

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