domingo, 29 de mayo de 2011


This is my first post about my Summer of Code working on EclipseFP, adding new features so that Haskell users can have a comfortable working environment inside Eclipse. I've been using EclipseFP for more than a year now (mainly for my University assignments), and I would really like it to have some of the advanced tools that Eclipse gives for Java or C. However, "adding features to EclipseFP" is a very vague statement. So in my proposal and after some mails with my mentor Thomas, I decided to work in 3 more concrete areas.

The first one, and the one I'm currently working on, is to create a Browser similar to the Java one. At least for me, that would mean an increase in productivity, because most of my Haskell programming time is spent changing from the editor to a web browser with Hackage open. With this view, I could browse the list of functions and types in a package or module from inside the environment.

When I was looking for ways to approach this, I found Hoogle. And more importantly, Hoogle maintains a complete index of the documentation of the latest version of every package in Hackage. So I'm going to use that information to provide developers a way to browse, inside the environment, the entire world of Haskell. That also means that when providing some interface for adding dependencies to Cabal projects (see below), we can also show the list of available Hackage packages.

The second feature to implement is some way to run unit tests, and show the statistics about passing and failure, much alike to JUnit tests in Java. The interface is going to be indeed very close to JUnit's integration in Eclipse, but I still have some open problems on getting the list of tests to run. The best option now seems to use Cabal's Test Suite support, although I was not able to find the "connectors" for QuickCheck and HUnit in Hackage.

The third feature I have in mind is to enhace the visual editor for Cabal files. Currently, it allows to change author, name and some other package metadata, but does not handle dependencies, build options or targets. My idea is to create something similar to the Cabal editor of Leksah, but as I said before, enhaced with metainformation I could get from Hackage.

Apart from this, there are lots of places to work. For example, having a database of function names allows to create "automatic imports" as the Java editor does, or provide better autocompletion. Refactoring support would be a great addition to the IDE. But all of this is just to much for a single summer...

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