Library submissions

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As the Haskell community has grown, and emphasis on development has moved from language to libraries, the need for a more formalised process for contributing to libraries has emerged. This page documents our 'best practices' for proposing changes to library interfaces (e.g. new modules or functions, removing functions), especially for modules in the base package.

In essence, we don't want proposals to go unnoticed, but changes to basic interfaces also need thorough consideration.

Under the old ad hoc system, unless a proposal meets with a chorus of approval, the only way to get a decision is from SimonM or unilateral action by some committer. This slowed development.

Submitting a proposal

In order to ensure we have something concrete to discuss, please follow the following guidlines when creating a new proposal:

  • Submission. Proposed changes should be submitted to, as a darcs patch.
  • Patch. The patch must compile against the head branch of the relevant library.
  • Style The style of code should follow the conventions in the existing library. See also: Style and GHC Working Conventions.
  • Documentation. It must include valid Haddock documentation
  • Tests. Code should also come with tests for the testsuite.
    • Pure code should also come with QuickCheck properties.
    • Impure code should have unit tests.
  • Portability. Code should be portable. If it is not portable, reasons should be given. Ensure the code runs in at least Hugs and GHC, Windows and Linux.

To document the change, please add a Trac ticket of type proposal against the appropriate library component, and a timescale for consideration (to focus the community's attention):


At the end of the discussion period

  • The proposer adds to the ticket a summary of the relevant parts of the discussion. (The summary is needed for anyone wondering about the change later: it's not reasonable to point people at a 50-message thread.)
  • The ticket is closed (usually as fixed or wontfix).
  • If consensus was achieved, the change is made, with the commit message referring back to the ticket.

A deeply held disagreement at this point may require some form of government (voting, dictatorship, etc). This should be a rare event.

Here are the archived past proposals.