Write You a Haskell

Off we go on our Adventure in Haskell Compilers! It will be intense, long, informative, and hopefully fun.

It’s important to stress several points about the goals before we start our discussion:

  • Tis is not a rigorous introduction to type systems, it is a series of informal discussions of topics structured around a reference implementation with links provided to more complete and rigorous resources on the topic at hand. The goal is to give you an overview of the concepts and terminology as well as a simple reference implementation to play around with.
  • None of the reference implementations are industrial strength, many of them gloss over fundamental issues that are left out for simplicity reasons. Writing an industrial strength programming language involves work on the order of hundreds of person-years and is an enormous engineering effort.
  • You should not use the reference compiler for anything serious. It is intended for study and reference only.

Troughout our discussion we will stress the importance of semantics and the construction of core calculi. The frontend language syntax will be in the ML-family syntax out of convenience rather than principle. Choice of lexical syntax is arbitrary, uninteresting, and quite often distracts from actual substance in comparative language discussion. If there is one central theme it is that the design of the core calculus should drive development, not the frontend language.