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Neil Mitchell: Bake - Continuous Integration System

Planet Haskell - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 3:24pm

Summary: I've written a continuous integration system, in Haskell, designed for large projects. It works, but probably won't scale yet.

I've just released bake, a continuous integration system - an alternative to Jenkins, Travis, Buildbot etc. Bake eliminates the problem of "broken builds", a patch is never merged into the repo before it has passed all the tests.

Bake is designed for large, productive, semi-trusted teams:

  • Large teams where there are at least several contributors working full-time on a single code base.
  • Productive teams which are regularly pushing code, many times a day.
  • Semi-trusted teams where code does not go through manual code review, but code does need to pass a test suite and perhaps some static analysis. People are assumed to be fallible.

Current state: At the moment I have a rudimentary test suite, and it seems to mostly work, but Bake has never been deployed for real. Some optional functionality doesn't work, some of the web UI is a bit crude, the algorithms probably don't scale and all console output from all tests is kept in memory forever. I consider the design and API to be complete, and the scaling issues to be easily fixable - but it's easier to fix after it becomes clear where the bottleneck is. If you are interested, take a look, and then email me.

To give a flavour, the web GUI looks of a running Bake system looks like:

The Design

Bake is a Haskell library that can be used to put together a continuous integration server. To run Bake you start a single server for your project, which coordinates tasks, provides an HTTP API for submitting new patches, and a web-based GUI for viewing the progress of your patches. You also run some Bake clients which run the tests on behalf of the server. While Bake is written in Haskell, most of the tests are expected to just call some system command.

There are a few aspects that make Bake unique:

  • Patches are submitted to Bake, but are not applied to the main repo until they have passed all their tests. There is no way for someone to "break the build" - at all points the repo will build on all platforms and all tests will pass.
  • Bake scales up so that even if you have 5 hours of testing and 50 commits a day it will not require 250 hours of computation per day. In order for Bake to prove that a set of patches pass a test, it does not have to test each patch individually.
  • Bake allows multiple clients to run tests, even if some tests are only able to be run on some clients, allowing both parallelisation and specialisation (testing both Windows and Linux, for example).
  • Bake can detect that tests are no longer valid, for example because they access a server that is no longer running, and report the issue without blaming the submitted patches.
An Example

The test suite provides both an example configuration and commands to drive it. Here we annotate a slightly simplified version of the example, for lists of imports see the original code.

First we define an enumeration for where we want tests to run. Our server is going to require tests on both Windows and Linux before a patch is accepted.

data Platform = Linux | Windows deriving (Show,Read)
platforms = [Linux,Windows]

Next we define the test type. A test is something that must pass before a patch is accepted.

data Action = Compile | Run Int deriving (Show,Read)

Our type is named Action. We have two distinct types of tests, compiling the code, and running the result with a particular argument. Now we need to supply some information about the tests:

allTests = [(p,t) | p <- platforms, t <- Compile : map Run [1,10,0]]

execute :: (Platform,Action) -> TestInfo (Platform,Action)
execute (p,Compile) = matchOS p $ run $ do
cmd "ghc --make Main.hs"
execute (p,Run i) = require [(p,Compile)] $ matchOS p $ run $ do
cmd ("." </> "Main") (show i)

We have to declare allTests, then list of all tests that must pass, and execute, which gives information about a test. Note that the test type is (Platform,Action), so a test is a platform (where to run the test) and an Action (what to run). The run function gives an IO action to run, and require specifies dependencies. We use an auxiliary matchOS to detect whether a test is running on the right platform:

myPlatform = Windows
myPlatform = Linux

matchOS :: Platform -> TestInfo t -> TestInfo t
matchOS p = suitable (return . (==) myPlatform)

We use the suitable function to declare whether a test can run on a particular client. Finally, we define the main function:

main :: IO ()
main = bake $
ovenGit "" "master" $
ovenTest readShowStringy (return allTests) execute

We define main = bake, then fill in some configuration. We first declare we are working with Git, and give a repo name and branch name. Next we declare what the tests are, passing the information about the tests. Finally we give a host/port for the server, which we can visit in a web browser or access via the HTTP API.

Using the Example

Now we have defined the example, we need to start up some servers and clients using the command line for our tool. Assuming we compiled as bake, we can write bake server and bake client (we'll need to launch at least one client per OS). We can view the state by visiting in a web browser.

To add a patch we can run bake addpatch --name=cb3c2a71, using the SHA1 of the commit, which will try and integrate that patch into the master branch, after all the tests have passed.

Categories: Offsite Blogs

How do I install QuickCheck?

Haskell on Reddit - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 2:21pm

I've tried using "cabal install QuickCheck" but I get this message.

Is there another way I can install QuickCheck or something I'm not doing right on the cabal install?

submitted by willrobertshaw
[link] [6 comments]
Categories: Incoming News

formally expressing type class "laws"

Haskell on Reddit - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 2:07pm

As a newcomer to Haskell - not even that, only a learner. I have been quite surprised about how relaxed Haskellers are about stating type class laws given how forthright they are about the absolute rightness of a strong type system.

When Haskellers talk about how good it is that they can reason about their code because of the laws, it seems to me like a JavaScript developer saying "it's wonderful, I don't need to check that I have been passed valid URL, because it's in the API specification in the README".

I might even risk contributing to a meme by saying "every sufficiently complicated Haskell library has an incomplete and informally-constructed Agda program in the blog posts expounding on it".

I am not here to push an inevitable march towards dependent typing. I would just like to be able to have a way of formally documenting these laws. Of course once the properties are there I'm sure there are many things that could be done:

  • plugging in an external theorem prover
  • generating quick-check tests
  • allowing the compiler to rely on them for optimisation - for instance if the compiler knows that the applied function in fold is associative then the operation can be panellised (I can't imagine this could be done in any other way than recognising particular special cases, but it could still be profitable even then).
    • other things

I understand that achieving this is probably more complicated than I could possibly imagine. What surprises me is that I don't even hear anyone worrying about it.

submitted by maninalift
[link] [21 comments]
Categories: Incoming News

PLT Redex: The Summer School, Call for Participation

General haskell list - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 2:04pm
PLT REDEX: THE SUMMER SCHOOL CALL for PARTICIPATION Matthias Felleisen, Robert Bruce Findler, Matthew Flatt LOCATION: University of Utah, Salt Lake City DATES: July 27 - July 31, 2015 PLT Redex is a lightweight, embedded DSL for modeling programming languages, their reduction semantics, and their type systems. It comes with an IDE and a toolbox for exploring, testing, debugging, and type-setting language models. The PLT research group has successfully used Redex to model and analyze a wide spectrum of published models. The summer school will introduce students to the underlying theory of reduction semantics, programming in the Redex language, and using its tool suite effectively. The course is intended for PhD students and researchers in programming languages. Enrollment is limited to 25 attendees. While the workshop itself is free, attendees must pay for travel, room, and board. We expect room and board to be around $500, assuming an arrival in the evening of
Categories: Incoming News

Brandon Simmons: Announcing unagi-chan

Planet Haskell - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 11:41am

Today I released version 0.2 of unagi-chan, a haskell library implementing fast and scalable FIFO queues with a nice and familiar API. It is available on hackage and you can install it with:

$ cabal install unagi-chan

This version provides a bounded queue variant (and closes issue #1!) that has performance on par with the other variants in the library. This is something I’m somewhat proud of, considering that the standard TBQueue is not only significantly slower than e.g. TQueue, but also was seen to livelock at a fairly low level of concurrency (and so is not included in the benchmark suite).

Here are some example benchmarks. Please do try the new bounded version and see how it works for you.

What follows are a few random thoughts more or less generally-applicable to the design of bounded FIFO queues, especially in a high-level garbage-collected language. These might be obvious, uninteresting, or unintelligible.

What is Bounding For?

I hadn’t really thought much about this before: a bounded queue limits memory consumption because the queue is restricted from growing beyond some size.

But this isn’t quite right. If for instance we implement a bounded queue by pre-allocating an array of size bounds then a write operation need not consume any additional memory; indeed the value to be written has already been allocated on the heap before the write even begins, and will persist whether the write blocks or returns immediately.

Instead constraining memory usage is a knock-on effect of what we really care about: backpressure; when the ratio of “producers” to their writes is high (the usual scenario), blocking a write may limit memory usage by delaying heap allocations associated with elements for future writes.

So bounded queues with blocking writes let us:

  • when threads are “oversubscribed”, transparently indicate to the runtime which work has priority
  • limit future resource usage (CPU time and memory) by producer threads

We might also like our bounded queue to support a non-blocking write which returns immediately with success or failure. This might be thought of (depending on the capabilities of your language’s runtime) as more general than a blocking write, but it also supports a distinctly different notion of bounding, that is bounding message latency: a producer may choose to drop messages when a consumer falls behind, in exchange for lower latency for future writes.

Unagi.Bounded Implementation Ideas

Trying to unpack the ideas above helped in a few ways when designing Unagi.Bounded. Here are a few observations I made.

We need not block before “writing”

When implementing blocking writes, my intuition was to (when the queue is “full”) have writers block before “making the message available” (whatever that means for your implementation). For Unagi that means blocking on an MVar, and then writing a message to an assigned array index.

But this ordering presents a couple of problems: first, we need to be able to handle async exceptions raised during writer blocking; if its message isn’t yet “in place” then we need to somehow coordinate with the reader that would have received this message, telling it to retry.

By unpacking the purpose of bounding it became clear that we’re free to block at any point during the write (because the write per se does not have the memory-usage implications we originally naively assumed it had), so in Unagi.Bounded writes proceed exactly like in our other variants, until the end of the writeChan, at which point we decide when to block.

This is certainly also better for performance: if a wave of readers comes along, they need not wait (themselves blocking) for previously blocked writers to make their messages available.

One hairy detail from this approach: an async exception raised in a blocked writer does not cause that write to be aborted; i.e. once entered, writeChan always succeeds. Reasoning in terms of linearizability this only affects situations in which a writer thread is known-blocked and we would like to abort that write.

Fine-grained writer unblocking in probably unnecessary and harmful

In Unagi.Bounded I relax the bounds constraint to “somewhere between bounds and bounds*2”. This allows me to eliminate a lot of coordination between readers and writers by using a single reader to unblock up to bounds number of writers. This constraint (along with the constraint that bounds be a power of two, for fast modulo) seemed like something everyone could live with.

I also guess that this “cohort unblocking” behavior could result in some nicer stride behavior, with more consecutive non-blocking reads and writes, rather than having a situation where the queue is almost always either completely full or empty.

One-shot MVars and Semaphores

This has nothing to do with queues, but just a place to put this observation: garbage-collected languages permit some interesting non-traditional concurrency patterns. For instance I use MVars and IORefs that only ever go from empty to full, or follow a single linear progression of three or four states in their lifetime. Often it’s easier to design algorithms this way, rather than by using long-lived mutable variables (for instance I struggled to come up with a blocking bounded queue design that used a circular buffer which could be made async-exception-safe).

Similarly the CAS operation (which I get exported from atomic-primops) turns out to be surprisingly versatile far beyond the traditional read/CAS/retry loop, and to have very useful semantics when used on short-lived variables. For instance throughout unagi-chan I do both of the following:

  • CAS without inspecting the return value, content that we or any other competing thread succeeded.

  • CAS using a known initial state, avoiding an initial read

Categories: Offsite Blogs

Define laws for read and show?

Haskell on Reddit - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 10:32am

The documentation for Text.Show states that this holds for derived instances:

The result of sho is a syntactically correct Haskell expression [...]

This fact can be used to pass states of certain computations around as text files or similar objects, because show converts the data to a string representation, while show's complement read enables continuing the earlier computations.

Of course the above is only possible if show and read are either derived automatically or implemented appropriately.

Now my question is: Should the statement from the beginning hold for any show function? Or, more general, Should a law / laws regarding the behaviour of read and show be prescribed, similar to Monad and Monoid?

A trivial law would be:

read . show == id

This would have to hold for any x which is part of Read and Show.

This question originated from StackOverflow.

submitted by ThreeFx
[link] [11 comments]
Categories: Incoming News

ghc-heap-view for GHC 7.8

Haskell on Reddit - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 10:02am
Categories: Incoming News

Joachim Breitner: New website layout

Planet Haskell - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 9:40am

After 10 years I finally got around to re-decorating my website. One reason was ICFP, where just too many people told me that I don’t look like on my old website any more (which is very true). Another reason was that I was visting my brother, who is very good at web design (check out his portfolio), who could help me a bit.

I wanted something practical and maybe a bit staid, so I drew inspiration from typical Latex typography, and also from Edward Z. Yang’s blog: A serif font (Utopia) for the main body, justified and hyphenated text. Large section headers in a knobbly bold sans-serif font (Latin Modern Sans, which reasonably resembles Computer Modern). To intensify that impression, I put the main text on a white box that lies – like a paper – on the background. As a special gimmic the per-page navigation (or, in the case of the blog, the list of categories) is marked up like a figure in a paper.

Of course this would be very dire without a suitable background. I really like the procedural art by Jared Tarbell, espcially substrate and interAggregate. Both have been turned into screensavers shipped with xscreensaver, so I hacked the substrate code to generate a seamless tile and took a screenshot of the result. I could not make up my mind yet how dense it has to be to look good, so I for every page I randomly pick one of six variants randomly for now.

I simplified the navigation a bit. The old News section has been removed recently already. The Links section is gone – I guess link lists on homepages are so 90s. The section Contact and About me are merged and awaiting some cleanup. The link to the satire news Heisse News is demoted to a mention on the Contents section.

This hopefully helps to make the site navigatable on mobile devices (the old homepage was unusable). CSS media queries adjust the layout slightly on narrow screens, and separately for print devices.

Being the nostaltic I am, I still keep the old design, as well as the two designs before that, around and commented their history.

Categories: Offsite Blogs

Joachim Breitner: ghc-heap-view for GHC 7.8

Planet Haskell - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 7:55am

Since the last release of ghc-heap-view, which was compatible with GHC-7.6, I got 8 requests for a GHC-7.8 compatible version. I started working on it in January, but got stuck and then kept putting it off.

Today, I got the ninths request, and I did not want to wait for the tenth, so I finally finished the work and you can use the new ghc-heap-view-0.5.2 with GHC-7.8.

I used this chance to migrate its source repository from Darcs to git (mirrored on GitHub), so maybe this means that when 7.10 comes out, the requests to update it come with working patches :-). I also added a small test script so that travis can check it:

I did not test it very thoroughly yet. In particular, I did not test whether ghc-vis works as expected.

I still think that the low-level interface that ghc-heap-view creates using custom Cmm code should move into GHC itself, so that it does not break that easily, but I still did not get around to propose a patch for that.

Categories: Offsite Blogs

Jan Stolarek: Weight-biased leftist heaps verified in Haskell using dependent types

Planet Haskell - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 7:35am

In January I announced my implementation of weight-biased leftist heaps verified with dependent types in Agda. This was part of my work on a paper submitted to CAV’14 conference. The paper got rejected and I decided not to resubmit it anywhere else. At this year’s ICFP listening to Stephanie Weirich’s keynote speech motivated me to finally port that implementation to Haskell, something that I had planned for a couple of months now. You can take a look at the result on github. Here I want to share some of my experiences and insights.

My overall impression is that porting from Agda to Haskell turned out to be fairly straightforward. It was definitely not a complete rewrite. More like syntax adjustments here and there. There were of course some surprises and bumps along the way but nothing too problematic. More precise details are given in the code comments.

Agda beats Haskell

When it comes to programming with dependent types Agda, being a fully-fledged dependently-typed language, beats Haskell in many aspects:

  • Agda has the same language for terms and types. Haskell separates these languages, which means that if I want to have addition for natural numbers then I need to have two separate definitions for terms and types. Moreover, to tie types and terms together I need singleton types. And once I have singleton types then I need to write third definition of addition that works on singletons. All of this is troublesome to write and use. (This tedious process can be automated by  using singletons package.)
  • interactive agda-mode for Emacs makes writing code much simpler in Agda. Here I was porting code that was already written so having an interactive Emacs mode for Haskell was not at all important. But if I were to write all that dependently-typed code from scratch in Haskell this would be painful. We definitely need better tools for dependently-typed programming in Haskell.
  • Agda admits Unicode identifiers. This allows me to have type constructors like ≥ or variables like p≥b. In Haskell I have GEq and pgeb, respectively. I find that less readable. (This is very subjective.)
  • Agda has implicit arguments that can be deduced from types. Haskell does not, which makes some function calls more difficult. Surprisingly that was not as huge problem as I initially thought it will be.
  • Agda is total, while Haskell is not. Since there are bottoms in Haskell it is not sound as a logic. In other words we can prove false eg. by using undefined.
Haskell beats Agda

The list is noticeably shorter:

  • Haskell has much better term-level syntax. In many places this resulted in significantly shorter code than in Agda.
  • Haskell is not total. As stated earlier this has its drawbacks but it also has a good side: we don’t need to struggle with convincing the termination checker that our code does actually terminate. This was painful in Agda since it required using sized types.
  • Haskell’s gcastWith function is much better than Agda’s subst. Both these functions allow type-safe casts given the proof that the cast is safe. The difference is that Agda’s subst requires more explicit arguments (as I noted earlier the opposite is usually the case) and restricts the cast to the last type parameter (Haskell allows cast for any type parameter).

While the list of wins is longer for Agda than it is for Haskell I’m actually very happy with Haskell’s performance in this task. The verification in Haskell is as powerful as it is in Agda. No compromises required.

It’s worth remarking that my implementation works with GHC 7.6, so you don’t need the latest fancy type-level features like closed type families. The really essential part are the promoted data types.

Categories: Offsite Blogs

`zip` doesn't work with infinite `Seq`s

haskell-cafe - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 3:57am
Hello, We are writing a compiler[1] for a course and found that the `zip` function included in the `Data.Sequence` module, `zip :: Seq a -> Seq b -> Seq (a, b)` would hang on the following code: We checked the implementation[2] in the source of `Data.Sequence` and found the following: EmptyL -> error "zipWith': unexpected EmptyL" In the lazy reading of the documentation we did, we didn't find any warning of using infinite `Seq`s for zips. (Maybe there are warings that we didn't see). But looking at the code of `zip` in the `Prelude`: We see that we could just *pattern-match* both heads, instead of making assumptions. Maybe this should be better explained in the documentation[3] of `zip` for `Seq`s: Or just change the implementation for it to work with infinite `Seq`s. For those of you who are curious, we ended up using the following code to fix the *infinite `Seq`s problem*: [1] [2]
Categories: Offsite Discussion

New Functional Programming Job Opportunities

haskell-cafe - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 5:00pm
Here are some functional programming job opportunities that were posted recently: Full Stack Functional Web Engineer at Front Row Education Senior Software Engineer at McGraw-Hill Education Cheers, Sean Murphy
Categories: Offsite Discussion

New gtk2hs 0.12.4 release

gtk2hs - Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:56pm

Thanks to John Lato and Duncan Coutts for the latest bugfix release! The latest packages should be buildable on GHC 7.6, and the cairo package should behave a bit nicer in ghci on Windows. Thanks to all!


Categories: Incoming News