Foreign Inline Code in Haskell (YOW! Lambda Jam 2014)

Foreign Inline Code in Haskell (YOW! Lambda Jam 2014)


Talk and workshop at YOW! Lambda Jam, Brisbane, 2014.

Template Haskell is a meta programming framework for Haskell implemented by the Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC), which is widely used as a template meta-programming system for Haskell, to define macros, code generators, or even code transformation engines. Subsequent support for the quasiquoting of arbitrary programming languages greatly simplified writing code generators in Haskell that produce complex C, CUDA, OpenCL, or Objective-C code by writing code templates in the syntax of the generated language.

Additionally, quasiquoting of C-like languages enables a purely library-based system for inline C code in Haskell. This dramatically simplifies language interoperability, and especially, the use of frameworks and libraries written in C-like languages from Haskell. It is, for example, helpful in applications based on native GUI libraries and projects integrating code written in multiple languages.

In this talk, I will explain the concepts of template meta-programming and quasiquoting and how they are used in Template Haskell. I will demonstrate quasiquoting by way of a few simple and intuitive examples. Finally, I will demonstrate the use of inline C code in Haskell and compare it to other forms of language interoperability as provided by Haskell and other functional languages.

This talk will explore the use, but not the implementation of quasiquoting and inline C & Objective-C code. Hence, the material should be accessible to anybody with an intermediate-level working knowledge of Haskell and C.

This slide set also contains the slides for the associated hands on workshop. If you are interested in going through the exercises, you can get the workshop source code templates and solutions from and you can find details on the prerequisite software setup (which requires OS X) at


Manuel Chakravarty

May 08, 2014