⏩ GHC 9.6.1 Announces Javascript Cross-Compilation

Tom Smykowski
2 min readMar 12

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In the final days of Javascript, Haskell announces cross-compilation technical preview to make Web purely functional for real

Haskell is a purely functional programming language that found its place in industrial applications, for example its used by Facebooka anti spam system.

Glasgow Haskell Compiler is the most famous, open source Haskell compiler available.

On tenth of March, 2023, Ben Gamari announced the release of GHC 9.6.1. I was reporting on the version 9.2.5 in November. Since that time the team came with some exciting news.

As announced GHC 9.6.1 the version makes it possible to cross compile code to WebAssembly and Javascript marking a milestone in Haskell history as it joins the group of Web supremacy languages.

The new functionality is in early stage and presented as a technical preview of a new angle that may revolutionize both Haskell usage as well as the Web development as it is.

As we can read in the release news:

GHC is not yet run-time retargetable; a given GHC binary targets exactly one platform, and both WebAssembly and JavaScript are considered platforms for this purpose. Cross-compilers must be built from source by their users

Another notable feature in this release is to generate bytecode for modules on demand. Mercury reported initial 40% compile speed improvement on Template Haskell code heavy project.

Check out the release note for other improvements and bugfixes.

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Tom Smykowski

Software Engineer & Awarded Tech Editor. Top 2% on StackOverflow, 3mil views on Quora, over 10k followers on Medium. Follow, biz: contact@tomasz-smykowski.com