Haskell Weekly News: September 20, 2005

Submitted by jgoerzen on Tue, 09/20/2005 - 5:23am.

Greetings, and thanks for reading the eighth issue of HWN, a weekly newsletter for the Haskell community. Each Tuesday, new editions will be posted (as text) to the Haskell mailing list and (as HTML) to The Haskell Sequence.

New Releases

  • GHC 6.4.1. According to Simon Marlow's announcement, GHC 6.4.1 is out and is mainly a bugfix release. No library APIs have changed, so code working with GHC 6.4 should continue to work.
  • Visual Haskell 0.0. Simon Marlow announced Visual Haskell 0.0, a Haskell development environment for the Microsoft Visual Studio platform.

Discussion

Autrijus Tang interviewed at perl.com. Autrijus Tang is a Perl hacker and developer of the first working Perl 6 interpreter, which is written in Haskell. On Page 2 of an interview on perl.com, he explained Haskell in glowing terms to the Perl audience. Favorite quote: "Haskell . . . is faster than C++, more concise than Perl, more regular than Python, more flexible than Ruby, more typeful than C#, more robust than Java, and has absolutely nothing in common with PHP." Thanks to metaperl for mentioning this on the Haskell Sequence. There was als a small thread about this.

Overloading (==). In an interesting thread, Tom Hawkins asked if it was possible to overload (==) to return something other than a Bool. The answer was no, but the discussion led to comments about using typeclasses instead of a simple Bool type in certain situations.

Haskell vs. Lisp. This discussion began with a post from Mark Carter, who is considering Haskell and wondering what advantages it might have over Lisp. Many perspectives were discussed, especially relating to metaprogramming (Lisp macros and Template Haskell). David F. Place had an interesting post. As someone with experience with both Haskell and Lisp, he commented that Haskell's "lazy evaluation eliminates 99% of the need for macros in Lisp." There were also posts by Tomasz Zielonka, Cale Gibbard were also insightful.

Network Parsing and Parsec. John Goerzen posed a question about using Parsec to parse network streams such as IMAP, where the results of the parsing itself determine how much data should be read, and reading too much data results in deadlock. Some solutions offered included a separate tokenizer phase and the use of the Parsec state to help.

Haskell Toolchain

The Big News this week is, of course, the new release of GHC. A big thanks to everyone on the GHC team for this.

Cabal du jour. Cabal keeps coming up on the libraries list. This week's discussion revolves around whether or not a --package-db option is wise.

Quotes of the Week

"Learning Haskell requires some brain rewiring, so the best way to learn it is by coding something in it for real. Yuval, a fellow "lambdacamel," learned Haskell from scratch by coding up a Forth parser, interpreter, and runtime all within a few days." -- Autrijus Tang

Corrections

Two typos in last week's HWN. In the web applications story, "S. Alexander Jacobsen" should have been "S. Alexander Jacobson". In the binary pasrser combinators story, "Malcolm Wallac" should have been "Malcolm Wallace". Sorry about that.

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