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An aspiring MVC web application development framework, for the Haskell
programming platform. A toy project for study.

Dockerised (2015)

  1. Build the Dockerfile
  2. Run it with (-p 3000:3000)
  3. View it a number of framework features at (host:3000/default)


  1. Ubuntu (a Linux distribution)

    Language Platform

    1. sudo apt-get install haskell-platform or install Haskell Platform
      from sources. (when compiling GHC from source, some soft linking of
      /usr/lib/*.so* files might be required; e.g.
      /usr/lib/x86somethingseomthing/from /usr/lib/to)
    2. sudo cabal update
    3. sudo cabal install cabal-install
    4. sudo cabal install cabal-dev
    5. edit ~/.bashrc and add export PATH=~/.cabal/bin/:$PATH or do whatever else it takes to refer to the cabal-dev executable, later


    1. sudo apt-get install mongodb-server or install MongoDB some other way
    2. Get the mongod daemon up and running (some Googling may be required if it doesn't "just work").
    3. mongo to enter the mongo shell (success will prove that the daemon is working)
    4. In the shell: use testdb to create a new database with this name.
    5. In the shell: db.createCollection("testcollection")
    6. In the shell: db.testcollection.insert({"testkey":"testvalue"})
  2. Windows

    Refer to the Ubuntu documentation above, with the following addenda.

    Language Platform


  3. Mac

    Try Google.

Quick Start

  1. Clone into the GitHub repository.


    mkdir ~/temp
    cd ~/temp
    git clone
  2. Enter your local Hell directory and resolve the local module dependencies
    with cabal-dev (which will refer to the Hell/hell-VERSION.NUMBER.cabal)


    cd ~/temp/Hell
    cabal-dev install
  3. Run the Hell/ bash script.


    cd ~/temp/Hell

    (The script tried this - assembling then running Hell/cabal-dev/bin/makeHell;
    assembling then running code from Hell/Hell and Hell/src as

    If you see the terminal stop at the following message, then all should be well.

    Trying to execute ./Server (Hit Ctrl+c to kill the Server...)
  4. Navigate a web browser to http://localhost:3000/server

    If you see any response, then you're in a good spot, for now.


Like Yesod, Hell will pre-assemble your application's source code. Unlike
Yesod, Hell does not use Template Haskell (which compiles to Haskell AST), and
instead compiles your application into a bunch of plain Haskell scripts which
you can open up to read (read:check) if necessary. It should be noted that
I do use a lot of libraries writted by the Yesod developers.


Haskell Platform and cabal-dev on Ubuntu 12.04 is the current development platform, so I'm not sure if this will work


./Hell contains libraries, and some templates.
./src would be where you write your application code.


The only thing to look at right now, is ./src/c/Default.hs, which is the
Default controller, containing the (index) action. This corresponds to


2013-11-09 :

Finally settled the cafe client, and now I have time to get back to this
project. I cloned into the repository, in order to debug the Quick Start

2013-04-18 :

Quite a bit has been done since 2013-03-20. We've now got a controller-view
data barrier, templating, cookies, sessions, debugging to views, static file
service, redirection, and some nifty operators. We're also well on our way to
implementing BSON as the nested map type, and soon we'll integrate the Report { data_ :: Document } field as the common data structure from models, through
to views (just like CakePHP's $this->data).

So far, I've tried to minimise line noise (the graphical music of morphemes, if
you will), key strokes, and typing distance. For example:

  • The scripts makeHell.hs and runHell.hs are intentionally lower-cased at
    their beginnings, to save you a keystroke when runghc whatveer.hs-ing.
  • The (...) operator works just like ($), except that its precedence is a
    notch lower, so that instead of (a.b $ d) you may write (a.b...c) - there
    are other idioms that seem to arise, but even I haven't mastered them

Some other design decisions:

  • Hell.Server is structured as a pipeline. The chimerical data type that's
    passed through the pipeline is Report. Prior to Views, debugging stuff to
    the View is an operation like "something to debug" ?>> report or report <<? "some text"
  • Routes are of the form ("controller","action"). The (report --> route)
    operation redirects the client... it's a bit of an experiment, and I'm
    wondering how many other fundamental HTTP transformations we can iconify as
    graphical operators in a sensible way.
  • In pipelining (composing) functions with the (.) operator, we're forced to
    read our function names backwards, from right to left. Sorry, my Hebrew is
    rusty, and I'd prefer not to break English, so (>.) mirrors (.), and
    (>...) mirrors (...) so that instead of show . concat ... [1,2,3] we
    can instead write [1,2,3] >... concat >. show, which being more
    jQuery-esque, may be something that the general web development audience
    might enjoy. Well, at least I like reading code like this, some of the time.

We're far from done. It's always fun learning a new system, and I've learnt a
fair bit of Haskellian lore just by getting the project this far. At least from
my point of view, I feel that I've learnt how to make the language, and web
development on the platform, a lot easier/prettier. So if I get blown up,
blinded, or face-chewed-off-by-a-chimp tomorrow, I guess this would be my last
happy memory pre-incident. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to further updates.

2013-03-23 (or thereabouts):

This project is in its embryonic stages. It remains muchly lacking in
documentation, and for that I am sorry.

What has been accomplished so far, is a Warp server application that routes
requests based on HTTP path segments. The server calls the router, the router
calls the controller-action, the controller-action passes a reaction back to
the server, the server renders the reaction into the respective view, and
serves this as a response.


This is the first GitHub-ed version of a web application development framework
that I've been working since 2013 Feb 20. This was developed on Haskell
Platform, with a few additional packages downloaded via Cabal. I haven't learnt
how to upload anything to Cabal yet.

I'm a Haskell noob, and started working in this language in 3Q2012. I've some
previous experience with CakePHP, and have also attempted to write a similar
web development framework, called EZ, in Erlang. I've only briefly looked at
the dominant web application development frameworks for Haskell, but found them
a little too opaque for my beginner's mind, and decided to write my own, partly
for personal use, and partly as a medium for studying Haskell.

I'm also a Git noob, and will probably make mistakes with regards to licensing
this source code along the way. It has no stated license at the moment.

Please feel free to send me comments and suggestions using the channels which
GitHub provides.

Name of the Framework

I was originally calling it it DumbFuck, censored it to DF, then figured Hell
was as good as Rails, and heck, if I have to dress it up some more for launch,
we can call it Halo.

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