Saturday, April 29, 2006

Windows and Haskell

I use Haskell on Windows, and I always tend to feel like a second class citizen... Lots of things just don't work as well on Windows as compared to Linux with Haskell tools - for instance, there is no hmake for Windows, nhc never worked on Windows, ghc ships with something close to a linux distribution with Windows, I once read the instructions to build ghc on windows and I cried, to make the standard libraries for Haskell its pretty much Linux, or something terrible like MSYS or Cygwin - the list goes on...

The reason I'm complaining is that I've been working on getting hugs and FFI working on Windows, the actual Windows code is all relatively easy, but trying to get the base package to compile on Windows seems not possible. Since the base package also compiles FFI .dll's, these are also built in MSYS with GCC. Hopefully in the future Cabal will come to the rescue, but at the moment I'm still not convinced - first off Cabal seems to match the way Linux users think, and not Windows users in any way. Although at the same time, it does seem quite impressive, and the way out for the future.

Hopefully, one day everyone will see the light and stop using Linux, move to Windows, and we can all have nice user interfaces and nice programming languages in one package.

Just a quick note, I really am very greatful for all the projects that have Windows ports,
I just hit my head against a brick wall every time I see a makefile :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hoogle Logo

I just got an email from someone pointing out that the Hoogle logo might be infringing Google's copyright or trademark. He might be right, he might not, but I think Hoogle is getting to the stage where I probably need to change the logo to something less like Google. If anyone has any ideas, I'd be happy to see them. I just want something vector based (SVG or Xara or something else) that looks nice and is essentially the word "Hoogle" with a lambda for the l, in reasonably clear writing. Fades, gradients, transparencies, textures are all fine.

I've just filled out a report on Hoogle for the HCAR, including some light plans for the future. It seems that between every HCAR I release a new version and rewrite the existing version, and never make a release. I'll try to change that before the next one.

The future plans for Hoogle are to make it go faster, and once that happens I can add loads more libraries and applications into the search. I also want to fix a few remaining bugs (nothing is considered a Monad due to higher kinds), and add a few features that never got finished (type aliasing). I also want searching for multiple words, since it seems a lot of people do that, and currently Hoogle considers it a type search. If anyone did want to do any work on it, there is plenty there, and I'm happy to accept patches :)

With all those fixes, I want the following searches to be "better":

  • Monad a => [a b] -> a [b]
  • zip with
  • [Char] -> String

And I want the following searches to have better error messages:
  • Just a -> a
  • Maybe -> a

Saturday, April 15, 2006

My Haskell related projects

Just for general information, I am involved in the following Haskell projects:

As author:
Hoogle - a Haskell search engine
Catch - a safety checker for Haskell (my PhD)
WinHaskell - A GUI for Haskell use on Windows
WinHugs - the GUI bit of Hugs (I rewrote the old WinHugs from scratch)

As a major contributor:
Yhc - the York Haskell compiler, I do the -core stuff, and other related bits.

And have submitted patches to:
Haddock - Add hoogle output
GHCi - :set prompt feature
Hugs - :main support (which is now in GHCi as well, thanks to someone else)

What do all the projects that I am mainly working on have in common? None have ever had an official release. Hoogle is approaching version 4 without having ever left beta, WinHaskell is just basically functional but definately not finished, Catch is coming along but far away from end user use, WinHugs is pretty much done, just release work remaining really.

At the moment I'm focused on WinHaskell, my progress can be tracked roughly here, but there are about 10 additional patches on my computer and I'm currently working on number 11.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Planet Haskell

I thought I'd turn this blog into one for my Haskell related stuff, since i doubt my friends in real life want to hear lots about Haskell, and I doubt Haskell people want to hear about me getting drunk and ranting about the world.

Just a few links for the first Haskell related post:

Planet Haskell -

My academic website -