Welcome, one and all, to the 2013 installment of 24 Days of Hackage! After a phenomenal reception last year, I’m back again with another collection of libraries to blog about. Not only that, but I’ve also got a handful of wonderful guest posts to compliment these. From rendering graphics to formatting text, to distributed programming, to constraint solving… I certainly have a lot of goodies to share with you.
But first, let’s start slow, and spend some time looking back on the last year and see how things have progressed since 2012.
A lot has changed in the Haskell landscape, but of particular interest to this series is that Hackage itself has been upgraded to Hackage 2. Hackage is the infrastructure that we use in Haskell to share libraries, and the new version is a complete rewrite. Hackage 2 launched in October, and this a rewrite is build using much more maintainable code, and provides a considerably more modular infrastructure. This seems to be paying off nicely, as the contributor count is slowly rising.
Most of us work with Cabal when we work with Hackage, and Cabal has also been updated to make programming in Haskell even more enjoyable. Cabal 1.18 came out, bringing with it sandboxes (for Python-like virtual environments to try and avoid the so-called “Cabal hell”), an easier REPL to launch GHCI, convenience commands to launch executables and tests, and much more.
Inside Hackage, the libraries themselves have been changing rapidly. Since the start of the year, we’ve gone from approximately 4.8k to 5.7k packages - almost 1000 new packages this year, and that’s not even accounting for updates! Specifically, Hackage has gone from hosting 28k versions of libraries to 34k - so I think that gives you one more data point to show that we’re far more than a “academic” language that some people may think.
Of libraries that saw a lot of activity, of the libraries we covered last year, the following stand out:
postgresql-simple continued to mature in 2013. The API remains fairly consistent, but functionality has grown to deal with more of PostgreSQL’s feature set. Of major interest to users of this database will be the support for array types,
COPY support, hstore support, and plenty of bug fixes.
lens continues its plans for world-domination, and the
lens team have now discovered new abstractions that have lead to an even stronger formalization of its internals. The
lens team discovered more uses for
lens, and this has lead to more compatibility between the various
Prisms, and so on. Internals aside,
lens has expanded to give you even more batteries, maybe one could say it now comes power-station-included - and continues to gain traction in the Haskell ecosystem.
pipes moved into its 4th iteration, and also benefited from discovering new fundamental abstractions.
pipes-4.0 features a much more concise API that is equally expressive to it’s predecessors, and Gabriel has reached a point where he is now moving out from the experimental design stage to expanding the breadth of
pipes now has answers to stream parsing, concurrency and resource finalizing, while also beginning to provide compatibility with other Haskell libraries, such as in
The Snap web framework saw more activity, specifically with a release of the
io-streams library for streaming data, which the next version of Snap will be built around - though this is yet to be released. The Snap team also reworked their “Heist” templating system to support interpreted splices as before, but also compiled splices, which have the potential to render even faster.
But don’t be tricked into thinking this is the only activity - far from it. Many of the other libraries I wrote about last year have continued to move with the rest of Hackage - updating dependencies, adjusting to new APIs, and integrating feature requests (and pull requests) from their ever-expanding user bases.
Tomorrow we’ll get the ball rolling for good. What will we cover? You’ll just have to wait and see…
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