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Revision as of 10:38, 23 April 2009

This article is a draft, with further revisions actively invited. Drafts are typically different than stubs in that these articles are in an active edit process. Feel free to help by expanding the article.

We need to start a Haskell centered cookbook (aka, not a PLEAC clone)

This page is based on the Scheme Cookbook at


1 Prelude

A lot of functions are defined in the "Prelude". Also, if you ever want to search for a function, based on the name, type or module, take a look at the excellent Hoogle. This is for a lot of people a must-have while debugging and writing Haskell programs.

2 GHCi/Hugs

2.1 GHCi interaction

To start GHCi from a command prompt, simply type `ghci'

   $ ghci
      ___         ___ _
     / _ \ /\  /\/ __(_)
    / /_\// /_/ / /  | |      GHC Interactive, version 6.6, for Haskell 98.
   / /_\\/ __  / /___| |
   \____/\/ /_/\____/|_|      Type :? for help.
   Loading package base ... linking ... done.

Prelude is the "base" library of Haskell.

To create variables at the GHCi prompt, use `let'

Prelude> let x = 5
Prelude> x
Prelude> let y = 3
Prelude> y
Prelude> x + y

`let' is also the way to create simple functions at the GHCi prompt

Prelude> let fact n = product [1..n]
Prelude> fact 5

2.2 Checking Types

To check the type of an expression or function, use the command `:t'

Prelude> :t x
x :: Integer
Prelude> :t "Hello"
"Hello" :: [Char]

Haskell has the following types defined in the Standard Prelude.

    Int         -- bounded, word-sized integers
    Integer     -- unbounded integers
    Double      -- floating point values
    Char        -- characters
    String      -- equivalent to [Char], strings are lists of characters
    ()          -- the unit type
    Bool        -- booleans
    [a]         -- lists
    (a,b)       -- tuples / product types
    Either a b  -- sum types
    Maybe a     -- optional values

3 Graphical user interfaces

3.1 wxHaskell

wxHaskell is a portable and native GUI library for Haskell based on the wxWidgets Library.

Hello World example:

module Main where
import Graphics.UI.WX
main :: IO ()
  = start hello
hello :: IO ()
  = do f    <- frame    [text := "Hello!"]
       quit <- button f [text := "Quit", on command := close f]
       set f [layout := widget quit]

This code was taken from "a quick start with wxHaskell".

3.2 Gtk2Hs

Gtk2Hs is a GUI Library for Haskell based on GTK. Gtk2Hs Tutorial.

Hello world example:

import Graphics.UI.Gtk
main :: IO ()
main = do
    w <- windowNew
    b <- buttonNew
    set b [buttonLabel := "Quit"]
    onClicked b $ widgetDestroy w
    set w [windowTitle := "Hello", containerBorderWidth := 10]
    containerAdd w b
    onDestroy w mainQuit
    widgetShowAll w

For more examples, see: Applications and libraries/Games

3.3 HOpenGL

HOpenGL is a Haskell binding for the OpenGL graphics API (GL 1.2.1 / GLU 1.3) and the portable OpenGL utility toolkit GLUT. There is a Haskell OpenGL Tetris program at [[1]] by Jim.

See also: Applications and libraries/Games

3.4 SDL

There are some Haskell bindings to SDL at Hackage.

4 PDF files

For the following recipes you need to install HPDF.

4.1 Creating an empty PDF file

The following code creates an empty PDF file with the name "test1.pdf":

import Graphics.PDF
main :: IO ()
main = do
  let outputFileName= "test1.pdf"
  let defaultPageSize = PDFRect 0 0 200 300
  runPdf outputFileName standardDocInfo defaultPageSize $ do
    addPage Nothing

4.2 Pages with different sizes

If you pass "Nothing" to the function addPage, the default page size will be used for the size of the new page.

Let’s create three pages, the last two pages with different dimensions:

import Graphics.PDF
main :: IO ()
main = do
  let outputFileName= "test2.pdf"
  let defaultPageSize = PDFRect 0 0 200 300
  runPdf outputFileName standardDocInfo defaultPageSize $ do
    addPage Nothing
    addPage $ Just $ PDFRect 0 0 100 100
    addPage $ Just $ PDFRect 0 0 150 150


5.1 How to interface with C

Magnus has written a nice example on how to call a C function operating on a user defined type.

6 Testing

6.1 QuickCheck


6.2 HUnit