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Sean Seefried's programming blog

26 Aug 2018

Gabriel Gonzalez's notes on Stack, Cabal and Nixpkgs

Gabriel Gonzalez recently tweeted about the history of Stack which I thought were worth recording for posterity here.

When stack was first introduced the killer features were:

  • declarative dependency specification (i.e. stack.yaml)
  • isolated project builds

cabal new-build was when cabal-install began to support the above two features (cabal.project being analogous to stack.yaml)Gabriel Gonzalez added,

Also, once Nixpkgs added Haskell support that also offered a third approach for isolated builds with declarative dependencies

The combination of cabal new-build + Nix’s Haskell integration is what caused stack to lose its competitive advantage on that front

A small advantage of stack was built-in support for using Stackage resolvers to select a working package set en masse

However, you could reuse that within a Cabal project by saving to your project

This compatibility was an intentional goal of @snoyberg

Stackage was probably the single best outcome of the stack project because it benefited all three of stack, cabal-install and Nixpkgs (which closely tracks the latest Stackage resolver, too)

Before Stackage getting a working build of, say, lens or yesod was a nightmare

Tagged as: Haskell, Cabal, Stack, Nix, build systems.

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