Typeclassopedia — a generic response

Thanks for all the fantastic feedback on the Typeclassopedia! Please keep it coming!

Such an outpouring of helpful comments and suggestions deserves a response, so I just wanted to write a quick note to say that I am reading every piece of feedback—whether here, on haskell-cafe, in #haskell, or on reddit—and fully intend to respond to each as appropriate. However, I probably won’t get around to it for a week or so, as at the moment I am focusing on digging myself out from all the other obligations that piled up while I was finishing the first draft. In the meantime, please keep sending me your suggestions!

However, there is one common suggestion I’ve received that I’d like to respond to now, which is that the Typeclassopedia should be put into wiki form. There are two main reasons I am submitting it for publication in the Monad.Reader, instead of creating it as a wiki in the first place:

  1. There is something about the permanence and elegance of a finely typeset, well-edited publication that a collection of wiki pages cannot capture. This isn’t just an issue of presentation; it also affects the content: writing for the Monad.Reader means that my writing and presentation are better than if I had created pages on a wiki.
  2. The Monad.Reader has a deadline; creating a wiki does not. Without a deadline, I probably never would have finished.

With that said, I think wikifying it after publication is a fantastic idea, and I hope that someone will take the initiative to do this. The Monad.Reader publishes all the source for each issue under a BSD license, so I don’t think this should be a problem.

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4 Responses to Typeclassopedia — a generic response

  1. apfelmus says:

    Concerning wification, I concur with 1 and 2. The wiki idea that everyone can edit the text is not much of a benefit here.

    However, I do think that PDF is not the best format for the Typeclassopedia; 111 references (~ 2.8 per page) are a clear sign that a linear paper-like medium doesn’t work very well. I think the hyperlinks of HTML are a better choice, even if that means trading typesetting quality.

    Unfortunately, choosing HTML over PDF would also mean trading against the Monad.Reader in its current form as well. But I’d consider this to be a problem of our beloved magazine, not of HTML. Why not have the Monad.Reader publish HTML articles; and tap those authors who currently focus on writing weblogs as well?

  2. gwern says:

    > Unfortunately, choosing HTML over PDF would also mean trading against the Monad.Reader in its current form as well. But I’d consider this to be a problem of our beloved magazine, not of HTML. Why not have the Monad.Reader publish HTML articles; and tap those authors who currently focus on writing weblogs as well?

    Apfelmus: one of my stalled projects is using Pandoc to convert the literate Haskell files that are the raw input to the TMR PDFs into MediaWiki markup. It works pretty well, as long as you add a manual step to convert the <code> into tags. But I got stuck on dealing with bibtex and references. Aside from that, the output struck me as satisfactory.

  3. newsham says:

    you can use hyperlinks in pdfs (both internally and to external resources).

  4. p_l says:

    With regards to HTML version – having Haskell equivalent of CL’s HyperSpec would be *very* good – I find that easily accessible, heavily cross referenced documentation with simple lookup from editor is a great help :)

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