bigball was my second real life Haskell project. When I was working for Scalian, we had this huge C++ project. Think about something with more than 300 sub-projects (libraries or executables). It was tough dealing with such a huge code base and its complexity. There were a lot of dependencies between the projects and we had no way to actually list them and view the dependency graph.
We needed a tool to help us to handle all theses dependencies.
We were working with Microsoft Visual Studio. Its main file, also called the solution file, contains this graph. So this was just a matter of parsing this file, creating the dependency graph and for each project output a file with it.
The software wasn’t very difficult to write. All the required libraries were available on hackage. My workmates were pretty happy with it and it was quickly integrated in our CI.
You can check it out on github.
And now I needed something more ambitious, something that feels like a real life project.
I had this need for a specific tool in my previous work. At the end of each month we needed to report on a half-day basis on which project we have worked. I’ve been using a Google spreadsheet for this so far.
It is actually a very good fit. Well firstly because it answers an actual need that I have, so it’s very good for the motivation. And also it contains everything a programmer needs to know to be fluent in a programming language.
To summarize it’s got:
- command line tools
- web backend server
- web frontend
- database access
- command line parsing
- text parsing
- external process launching
- unit tests
- deployment process
For the frontend, I’ve implemented it in Elm using the library haskell-to-elm.
I also spent some time to automate the deployment. When the compilation succeed and the tests pass, the CI builds a docker image and upload it on dockerhub. So deployment is now just a matter of pulling the latest image and restart the service.
The project has been a success as I’ve used it for more than six months without any trouble. This project has allowed me to get to use servant, lenses, RIO, QuickCheck. It was a great fun to learn all this.
Open source contributions
When I find the time, I like to contribute to open source projects. I made some modest contributions to these ones:
- smos: a comprehensive self-management system
- hatrace: scripted strace
- path: support for well-typed paths in Haskell
- termonad: a terminal emulator configurable in Haskell
- hledger-flow: a command-line program that gives you a guided Hledger workflow
- lib3ds: a free toolkit for handling the “3DS” format for 3D model files