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1 Using GHCi

This page is a place to collect advice about how to use GHC's interactive interpreter, GHCi. Please add to it!

1.1 External tool integration

External command-line tools like Hoogle can be integrated in GHCi by adding a line to .ghci similar to

:def hoogle \str -> return $ ":! hoogle -n 15 \"" ++ str ++ "\""

Make sure that the directory containing the executable is in your PATH environment variable or modify the line to point directly to the executable. Invoke the executable with commands like

:hoogle map

1.2 Using :def

The :def command, documented here, allows quite GHCi's commands to be extended in quite a powerful way.

Here is one example.

  Prelude> let loop = do { l <- getLine; if l == "\^D" then return () else do appendFile "foo.hs" (l++"\n"); loop }
  Prelude> :def pasteCode (\_ -> loop >> return ":load foo.hs")

This defines a new command :pasteCode, which allows you to paste Haskell code diretly into GHCi. You type the command :pasteCode, followed by the code you want, followed by ^D, followed (unfortunately) by enter, and your code is executed. Thus:

  Prelude> :pasteCode
  x = 42
  Compiling Main             ( foo.hs, interpreted )
  Ok, modules loaded: Main.
  *Main> x

1.3 A readline-aware GHCi on Windows

Mauricio reports: I've just uploaded a package (rlwrap) to Cygwin that I like to use with ghci. You can use it like this:


and then you will use ghc as if it were readline aware (i.e., you can press up arrow to get last typed lines etc.). rlwrap is very stable and I never had unexpected results while using it.

Since the issue of ghci integration with terminals has been raised here sometimes, I thought some guys here would be interested (actually, I found rlwrap looking for a better way to use ghci).