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Newbie thoughts on Guile Hall + Guix

From: Christine Lemmer-Webber
Subject: Newbie thoughts on Guile Hall + Guix
Date: Sat, 05 Feb 2022 15:01:14 -0500
User-agent: mu4e 1.6.10; emacs 27.2


It's been a while since Guile was my main hacking environment; I've been
returning to it, and one of the nicest things to change about its
ecosystem is the presence of Guile Hall.

I really, really like Guile Hall.  A lot!  I think it has room to grow
but it fills a clearly missing piece of the Guile ecosystem while doing
it in the best way possible: making itself explicitly compatible with

I thought I'd write down some impressions while everything is fresh.

 - Its ability to make an autotools-compatible tarball, but without me
   needing to think about autotools at all, is a real delight.

 - Its test suite stuff is also really nice.

 - I found myself surprised that hall.scm is "just data", instead of
   taking the more guix'y approach of being code that actually builds a
   datastucture.  I'm not sure what the goal of this is; there can be
   reasons to take that approach but I'm not sure what it is here?
   My assumption is that the main reason is so that "hall scan" can
   correctly read and then modify and spit out another file, but I'm
   not sure.

 - What I would actually *really* like would be for the Hall package
   definition structure to be a wrapper *around* the Guix package
   structure.  Then the guix.scm would be really simple: it could just
   "peel off" the outer struct.  If I wanted to do some smart
   modifications of things from there maybe I could.  I dunno, something
   like this.

 - "hall scan" is really cool, but I kind of wish I didn't need to use
   it.  I'd rather not keep track of any of this stuff at all.
   I'd be happy just pointing some code at a directory and say "snarf
   up all the .scm files you see therein!"

 - I'm currently writing a manual starting in a .org file that's then
   converted into a .texi file.  I'd prefer if I could find an
   entrypoint to insert this into the compilation workflow: a pre-step
   to the docs compilation that generates the .texi file *from* my
   .org file.
 - On that note, it strikes me that Hall's integration with autotools
   is great because it means that existing distros don't need to be
   aware of Guile *or* Guix.  But it also means that Hall probably has
   all of the information that it could do all the steps that autoconf
   and automake do too.  That might be interesting to see that.
Anyway, just some thoughts.  Making Guile packages is already much less
intimidating now thanks to Hall's work.  Thank you for it!

 - Christine

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