Recently Alan Zimmerman announced on the haskell-cafe mailing list that there was a new haskell-ide project, with a new Github repository, a mailing list and an IRC channel. Some people have been concerned that this effort is fragmenting existing efforts, including with ide-backend (the open sourced library FP Complete announced earlier this year). I clarified this on Reddit, but wanted to take the opportunity to do so on this blog as well (and, additionally, throw some extra attention on the haskell-ide project).
Alan’s announcement did not come in a vacuum; about two weeks ago, he reached out to others for feedback on a potential project. There were some side channel discussions that I was involved in, all of which were very much in favor of (and excited about!) this project. To quote myself from Reddit, we reached the following conclusion:
Both the ghc-mod and ide-backend maintainers have agreed to contribute code to this new repository and then rebase the old repos on this. The reason we’re using a new repo instead of modifying one of the existing ones is so that the existing projects experience no disruption during this migration process. If this was a new set of people starting a new project without support from existing projects, I’d agree with you. But Alan’s reached out to existing players already, which is an important distinction.
Michael Sloan – the current maintainer of ide-backend and one of the primary developers of both School of Haskell and FP Haskell Center – is already getting involved in this project. It’s too early to decide exactly what the future of ide-backend will be relative to haskell-ide, but we’re not ruling anything out. Anything from rebasing ide-backend to use haskell-ide internally, all the way to deprecating ide-backend in favor of haskell-ide, is on the table. We’ll do whatever makes the most sense to help the Haskell community create great tooling.
Related to this project: a number of people have been following the development of stack-ide. We started that project not realizing how quickly existing tooling (like ghc-mod and hdevtools) would adopt support for Stack, and certainly not expecting this new haskell-ide project to offer a unifying force in the Haskell tooling space. To avoid fragmentation, we’re currently holding off on further word on stack-ide, hoping instead that collaboration will help improve existing tooling not just for the Stack use case, but for cabal, cabal sandboxes, and other cases people have been targeting.
Since I’m already discussing IDE stuff, let me publicly give an answer I’ve given privately to a few people. A number of individuals have asked about the future of the FP Haskell Center codebase, and the possibility of open sourcing it. The summary answer is:
I hope this excites others as much as it excites me: some concerted efforts on improving tooling can hopefully go a long way. A big thank you to Alan for coordinating this effort, and to Michael Sloan for leading the charge from the FP Complete side. I’m optimistic that we’ll see some real strides forward in the near future.