New Stackage features.

Posted by Chris Done - 20 October, 2014

We have two new updates to Stackage: providing cabal.config files and including Haddock documentation.

Haddock documentation on snapshots

Now all new exclusive snapshots will have haddock links, which you can access via the following steps:

That link will be to an index page like this from which you can view documentation of all packages included in the snapshot. This means you can generally view everything in one place, on one high availability service.

Using Stackage without changing your repo

The recommended way to use Stackage is to simply change your remote-repo field in your .cabal/config file and run cabal update. Henceforth your dependencies will be resolved from Stackage, which is backed by high availability Amazon S3 storage servers, and you will have successful build plans, compilation and passing tests. Hurrah!

Try Haskell and the upcoming Haskell.org homepage were both developed with Stackage. This meant I could just specify the Stackage snapshot to use in the README and then the next time I want to upgrade I can just update the snapshot version to get a fresh working build plan.

The issue some people are facing is that they cannot change this remote-repo field, either because they're using a cabal sandbox, which doesn't support this yet, or because they just don't want to.

The solution to this, in my experience, has been for me to manually go and run cabal freeze in a project I've already built to get the cabal.config file and then give these people that file.

Now, it's automated via a cabal.config link on snapshot pages:

For new developers working on an application who want to use Stackage, they can do something like this:

$ cabal sandbox init
$ curl http://www.stackage.org/<stackage version>/cabal.config > cabal.config
$ cabal install --only-dep

Which will install their dependencies from Hackage. We can't guarantee this will always work -- as Stackage snapshots sometimes will have a manual patch in the package to make it properly build with other packages, but otherwise it's as good as using Stackage as a repo.

A cabal freeze output in cabal.config will contain base and similar packages which are tied to the minor GHC version (e.g. GHC 7.8.2 vs GHC 7.8.3 have different base numbers), so if you get a cabal.config and you get a dependencies error about base, you probably need to open up the cabal.config and remove the line with the base constraint. Stackage snapshots as used as repos do not have this constraint (it will use whichever base your GHC major version uses).

Another difference is that cabal.config is more like an “inclusive” Stackage snapshot -- it includes packages not known to build together, unlike “exclusive” snapshots which only contain packages known to build and pass tests together. Ideally every package you need to use (directly or indirectly) will come from an exclusive snapshot. If not, it's recommended that you submit the package name to Stackage, and otherwise inclusive snapshots or cabal.config are the fallbacks you have at your disposal.


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