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This document contains a few notes/ideas/brain dumps for how Scion works or should work.


Session State

GHC Session State

  • Static Flags: We cannot change these throughout a session.

  • Dynamic Flags: May be set on a per-file basis and a per-project basis. They contain all sorts of stuff including search paths and more. The tricky bit here is resetting the old DynFlags when loading a new component.

  • Targets and module graph: The targets are all the files that we are "interested" in. The module graph contains the targets and all the modules it depends on (within the same package). GHC will automatically perform dependency analysis for use (including running the C preprocessor.)

  • Interactive Context: The context (set of visible modules and debugger state) of the byte code interpreter.

Scion Session State

What we really need is some kind of abstraction of the GHC session state. This could be called a "project". Currently we have two ways of setting up the information that makes up the GHC session state.

  • We can load just a single file (like GHCi's load).

    Idea: Currently we set the working dir to the directory that the file is in. Since, by default, the search path includes only the current directory, it might be worthwhile to set up a proper search path based on the name of the module. For example, if we load file /foo/bar/A/B/C.hs and the module name at the top of the file is A.B.C then a reasonable choice of search path would be foo/bar. (Unfortunately, getting that module name is not very easy at the moment.)

  • We can load a component of Cabal file. Such a component is either the library or one of the executables specified within the Cabal file. The difficulty here is that in order to get the proper meta-data we have to first configure the project. When selecting such a component the user therefore can do several things:

    1. If the project has not been configured, yet, it has to be configured.

    2. If the project has been configured previously (either in the same session or some other time) the user may want to reconfigure or reuse the existing configuration.

The first case is obvious. The second case may be triggered both when switching components within the same Cabal project, or when re-opening a project that we have been working on previously.

Configuring a Cabal project

In addition to the Cabal file to configure, we also need

  • A dist directory: The default is .dist-scion in the same directory that the Cabal file resides. The main problem with this default is that this directory should be ignored by the version control system, and therefore requires an action on the part of the user. On the other hand, most VCSs support a global settings file, so anyone using Scion only needs to edit the global file once.

  • Command line flags to the configure command.

In the future we could provide a mechanism to put this information in a special file, so the user does not have to provide this information over and over again.