I've been wanting to try out graphics in Haskell. From what I've seen, the available libraries are either front-ends to C/C++ libraries, or an abstraction of them with minimal features. The high-level libraries do not seem to suit my needs, and so I'm left with lower-level front-ends.

What I need is to render tiles and text - basics for a very simple game. I know how to do this with C, and was thinking I could write the graphics in C and interface it with Haskell. The alternative is to write the graphics using a Haskell library.

My question is, can available Haskell libraries achieve what I want? I do not want to bend over backwards; if C can do it better than I would like to know.

  • 1
    How much should be done is unanswerable if you don't tell us what you need be done. How much could be done is a different question, one that might even be on topic.
    – yannis
    Nov 2, 2011 at 6:01
  • Hi Pubby8, if you can update your question with what exactly you're trying to do that's got you thinking about this, feel free to flag it for reopening.
    – user8
    Nov 2, 2011 at 7:03
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    Why not use SDL? It's low-level (for Haskell), yes, but I don't think that writing graphics in C would give you considerable benefits. Nov 2, 2011 at 19:22

2 Answers 2


SDL is an excellent library with good Haskell bindings—and related libraries for images, audio, and text—for which enough tutorials exist to get you off the ground; being rather low-level, it requires a bit of care to keep things pretty and functional, but in my experience SDL and Haskell make a superb combination.

  • I've used SDL before as a C library. How similar is the Haskell version to the C one?
    – Pubby
    Nov 3, 2011 at 2:47
  • @Pubby8: They’re quite similar. All the Haskell version really does is explicate where IO is happening.
    – Jon Purdy
    Nov 3, 2011 at 14:07
  • +1, I second this recommendation. I'm using SDL with Haskell to code a small 2D game, so far with no problems.
    – Andres F.
    Nov 23, 2011 at 13:19

If you are asking if there is a good C/C++ alternative to haskell that does GUI well, then look no further: http://qt-project.org/

Definitely the strongest GUI framework out there for C++.

If however, your question was "find me something better in haskell" then I can't help you :/

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