I also blog frequently on the Yesod Web Framework blog, as well as the FP Complete blog.

Shutting down haskell-lang.org

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Early this week, I merged a commit which essentially shuts down the haskell-lang.org website. Besides a few rarely viewed pages without obvious replacements, visiting pages on https://haskell-lang.org will automatically redirect you to an appropriate page on https://haskell.fpcomplete.com. Also, consider this an announcement that there’s a new site around, https://haskell.fpcomplete.com!

The site is still being refined. However, to avoid confusion, someone requested that I make an announcement now. That request makes sense. In this post, I want to explain:

  • Why I shut down haskell-lang.org
  • What the goal of haskell.fpcomplete.com is
  • What makes this new site different from haskell-lang.org
  • Plans for the future

Onward!

Shutting down haskell-lang.org

I’ve been playing with the idea of shutting down haskell-lang.org for a while now. I didn’t want to simply turn it off, since there’s a lot of useful content there that I regularly use myself and point others to for training (we’ll get to that in a bit). It wasn’t a huge amount of work to put together the replacement site, but it did take some dedicated writing time. I got that time last week and did most of the work then.

I first publicly proposed shutting down the site in December of last year. I put together a proposal to get a bunch of people together to work on a new Commercial Haskell site. There wasn’t much interest in such collaboration, so I went with option B, which I’ll explain in the next section.

As for why haskell-lang.org should be shut down, I’ll quote the history section of the new site’s README:

This website replaces some previous false starts (and mistakes) at trying to create an opinionated hub of Haskell information. Previously, some FP Complete members participated in haskell-lang.org as another vision of an opinionated Haskell site. Later, we sought out collaborators for creating a more complete Commercial Haskell website.

haskell-lang.org was a mistake, and there was insufficient interest in commercialhaskell.com. Given that the branding for haskell-lang.org was incorrect, there was little interest from others in the general concept of creating an opinionated site, and we at FP Complete were still passionate about this topic, we decided to focus efforts on a site under our own branding and control.

This site is unapologetically opinionated, and follows what we have found to be the best route towards getting productive with Haskell quickly.

The need for a site

haskell-lang.org has been collecting solid tutorials on general Haskell techniques and specific libraries. The collection is opinionated, so that I can use it for training courses I give, and point new users to it without needing to give any caveats about which approach to follow. And the site is backed by a Git repository using Markdown files, which I’m a huge fan of.

So first goal of this site would be: retain the technical content and educational approach provided by haskell-lang.org, without the bad history that goes along with that name.

Other goals

At FP Complete, we’ve done a few surveys of the Haskell community to get an idea of what we can do to most help more companies adopt Haskell. From our last survey, it seems that more educational content is top of the list, followed by helping companies generally feel comfortable adopting Haskell. I covered the education aspect above, and we’ll continue to put efforts into improving that situation.

On the more nebulous adoption point, we’re adding two more goals to the new site:

  • Provide promotion material: content that explains what makes Haskell a good choice for businesses, together with some potential drawbacks people should be aware of.
  • Introduce a Success Program at FP Complete, providing affordable commercial Haskell support including training and mentoring. We believe this may help more companies adopt Haskell.

Enrolling in the Success Program is a paid service at FP Complete (though we are pricing it as low as we can, to maximize adoption without actually losing money). We’re hoping that the presence of a clearly defined and publicly priced commercial support package will help reduce perceived risk with Haskell further and allow more adoption.

The future

The new site is still a work in progress. Overall, the styling still needs a bit of work, I want to refine the language some (and likely scale back the prose). I also want to refresh a bunch of the technical content to be in line with our current recommendations. This will also affect the Applied Haskell training I’ll be giving later this year. (Feel free to check out the current version of the course online.)

I still have some questions up in the air, like whether we’ll host a blog on this site or simply continue all FP Complete blogging activitiy on our corporate site. I’ve started putting together a bit of a philosophy page explaining the FP Complete approach to commercial Haskell development, and that needs expanding. And I’d like to get a more content on the contribute page to allow people to find a project they can cut their teeth on.

I hope that this new site not only allows for creation of and access to great Haskell content. I also hope that this is taken as a positive message from the rest of the community and an indication of how we at FP Complete, and I personally, intend to interact with the broader Haskell community going forward. We’ll remain opinionated on our technical recommendations, as I believe we should be. But hopefully this change in naming and purpose of the site remove any adversarial nature to sharing these opinions.

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