Haskell Weekly News

Haskell Weekly News: August 9, 2005

Submitted by jgoerzen on Tue, 08/09/2005 - 5:36am.

Greetings, and thanks for reading the second 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.


Practical Monads. Paul Moore started a discussion about Monads and resources for learning about them. Quite a few readers responded with suggestions.

STRef vs. IORef. Srinivas Nedunuri started a discussion by asking when to STRef and when to use IORef. Iavor Diatchki posted a helpful example, and many other helpful answers were posted as well.

Parsing Foreign Languages. The The ParsingForeignLanguagesInHaskell wiki page was the subject of a short discussion on the libraries mailing list. If you have any further information or would like to join or start a project to parse a particular language, see the wiki page.

Haskell Toolchain

Cabal was again a hot topic this week. There were discussions about data directories, running on Windows 98, and package description fields in general.

Darcs Corner

Darcs in FreshMeat. David Roundy is looking for volunteers to maintain the Darcs entry at FreshMeat.net. It wouldn't require much time, but the ability to summarize changes at release time.

Binary files and line endings. Phil Brooke asked how darcs handles line endings and binary files.

Uniqueness of patch names. On #darcs this week, a discussion about the uniqueness of low-level patch names in darcs. The consensus seemed to be that darcs needs an additional better-than-1-second component to patch names to eliminate a situation in which collisions can arise.

New Releases

  • Simon Marlow announced the release of Haddock version 0.7. Highlights of this version include improvements for linking across different packages, bug fixes, collapsable trees in HTML, and support for new output formats.
  • Einar Karttunen has released hsgnutls 0.1, a Haskell binding for the GnuTLS SSL/TLS library.
  • John Goerzen announced the release of a preliminary, but working, binding to OpenLDAP from Haskell.

Quotes of the Week

<CosmicRay> "Oh Lord, bless this thy holy IO monad, and use it for thy purposes that it may smash Java to tiny bits..." (with apologies to monty python)

<Pseudonym> If I ever write a GUI library for Haskell, I'm going to call it pointlesstif.

About Haskell Weekly News

Want to continue reading HWN? Please help us create new editions of this newsletter. Please see the contributing information, or send stories to hwn -at- complete -dot- org. There is also a Darcs repository available.

Haskell Weekly News: August 2, 2005

Submitted by jgoerzen on Tue, 08/02/2005 - 4:40am.

Greetings, and thanks for reading the first issue of HWN, a weekly newsletter for the Haskell community. HWN is an experiment inspired by Debian Weekly News and Linux Weekly News. Each Tuesday, new editions will be posted (as text) to the Haskell mailing list and (as HTML) to The Haskell Sequence.

Since this is the first issue, it covers a few items more than one week old.


Updating the Haskell Standard? This question was posed on haskell-cafe and reaction was mixed.

Best way to assemble strings? Andy Gimblett inquired about building up strings. The discussion covered options such as printf, (++), concat, and even some sample code for interpolation inside strings.

FFI, Threading, and Callbacks. John Goerzen asked some questions about using FFI together with threading. Simon Marlow has written a paper on the topic that is useful background. Duncan Coutts described why some GUI toolkits presently do polling.

Haskell Toolchain

GHC 6.4.1 release candidate is available. Simon Marlow has announced the availability of GHC 6.4.1 release candidate and the beginning of testing for 6.4.1. 6.4.1 includes many fixes, including some performance enhancements, and also introduces support for a native code generator for amd64.

Results of GHC Performance Week. Simon Marlow posted a summary of the results of the GHC performance week. They found a number of things that improve the performance of GHC, and some are already fixed in 6.4.1.

Cabal was a hot topic this week. Brian Smith started a discussion about conditional code in Cabal. It seems to be a common problem when porting software to Windows. Duncan Couts asked about automated platform building of Haskell packages based on their Cabal descriptions.

GHC in Debian unstable. Due to a C++ transition going on, GHC is currently uninstallable in Debian unstable. If you want to use it on unstable, you can grab the libgmp3 package from stable. More details in Debian bug 319222.


The 2005 Haskell Workshop is coming up on September 30 in Tallin, Estonia. David Roundy, author of darcs, will be a feature presenter this year. More information is available from the conference page.

Darcs Corner

Darcs 1.0.4pre2 released. David Roundy announced the availability of Darcs 1.0.4pre2. Major updates since 1.0.3 include reduced memory usage, and experimental support for git archives.

darcsweb. Alberto Bertogli announced darcsweb, a replcement for darcs.cgi modeled after gitweb.

Darcs Success Story. Mark Stosberg wrote about a success using Darcs for just-in-time branching.

Darcs on SourceForge. Eric S. Johansson wondered if any SourceForge-like Darcs-friendly sites existed. Thomas Zander suggested simply using public web space on SourceForge itself.

Centralized development with Darcs. A question was raised about using Darcs for centralized development in a specific scenario. Several solutions were mentioned. Remko Troncon linked to a recipe for centralized logging on the Darcs wiki. Mark Stosberg pointed out his article, Benefits from a real world switch from CVS to Darcs, and also pointed out the RSS support in Darcs.

New Releases

  • hsffig, a new FFI binding generator, was announced by Dimitry Golubovsky. Download via its Darcs repository. The main unique feature of hsffig is that it can parse C .h files without any human assistance whatsoever. Version 1.0 was also announced just yesterday.
  • c2hs version 0.14.1 is out. It has a new parser system and its build system is now based upon Cabal.
  • MissingH 0.11.3 is out, and now supports Windows. MissingH is a library of pure-Haskell utility functions relating to strings, logging, and I/O. Darcs repository also available.
  • MissingH LGPL/BSD branch was announced. This branch is a stripped-down version of MissingH, with all GPL'd code either re-licensed or removed. It is available from a Darcs repository only.

Quotes of the Week

<Speck> "That's like cheating. It isn't even programming. You just tell it what to do and it does it." -- My friend upon seeing some Haskell code

<autrijus> Perl: "Easy things are easy, hard things are possible"
<autrijus> Haskell: "Hard things are easy, the impossible just happened"

About Haskell Weekly News

Want to continue reading HWN? Please help us create new editions of this newsletter. Please see the contributing information, or send stories to hwn -at- complete -dot- org. There is also a Darcs repository available.

Contributing to Haskell Weekly News

Submitted by jgoerzen on Mon, 08/01/2005 - 4:14am.

Thank you for your interest in Haskell Weekly News.

We welcome and encourage contributed news items from the Haskell community.

The simplest way to contribute is to submit stories for HWN. You may e-mail your stories to hwn .at. complete .dot. org. To make things easiest for us to process (which makes it more likely that your submission gets processed quickly), here are some hints:

  • Include links to whatever you are talking about. Readers need to have a place to go to read more about it.
  • Keep it short and sweet. HWN gives people a summary of what's happening, and links to more information.
  • Plain text or hand-edited HTML is preferred. Don't send us HTML from FrontPage.

Mailing List Links
HWN presently uses Gmane.org for links into Haskell mailing list discussions. If you send us links into the mailing list, we prefer that you link to the appropriate items on Gmane. If not, you can link to them in the haskell.org archives and we'll find the corresponding gmane posts ourselves. But please at least link to them *somewhere*.

Darcs Repository
If you want to be really helpful, you can check out our darcs repository and send us patches directly. This will be the absolute quickest way to get something into HWN, especially if you do a good job :-)

Check it out with:

darcs get --partial http://darcs.complete.org/hwn

You should always make all changes against the file prep.html in that repository. Other files may be in various stages of being prepared for release. Entries in prep.html will be moved around if necessary.

When you're ready to submit your story, just run darcs send.