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gibiansky / IHaskell


A Haskell kernel for IPython.



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You can now try IHaskell directly in your browser at

IHaskell is a kernel for the Jupyter project, which allows you to use Haskell inside Jupyter frontends (including the console and notebook).

For a tour of some IHaskell features, check out the demo Notebook. More example notebooks are available on the wiki. The wiki also has more extensive documentation of IHaskell features.

Shell Usage

IPython Console

Interactive In-Browser Notebook

IPython Notebook

Source Installation

Note: IHaskell does not support Windows. To use on Windows, install Virtualbox, install Ubuntu or another Linux distribution, and proceed with the install instructions.

How to get help: Feel free to open an issue on Github or join the Gitter channel.

Arch Linux has a package for IHaskell:

Install Using Installation Scripts


If you are using a modern version of Ubuntu, clone the repository and then run the script:

git clone
cd IHaskell

This script will ask you for sudo permissions in order to install IHaskell dependencies. The script is readable and easy to inspect if you wish to know what it does before giving it root permissions.

Mac OS X:

On Mac OS X, clone the repository and then run the script:

git clone
cd IHaskell

Note that you must have Homebrew installed for this script to work.

Installing Manually

Install IPython

Install IPython 3.0 or above:

pip install ipython[all]

This may require root permissions on some systems, in which case put a sudo before that command before running it. Once this is done, running ipython --version should print out 3.0 or above.

Note that IHaskell requires 3.0 or above; IHaskell will not work with IPython 2 or earlier.

Install Haskell

You can let Stack take care of everything by running stack setup from within the IHaskell folder. Stack can also be used to build IHaskell later and will manage dependencies better than cabal (like in issue #578).

Or you can install GHC and Cabal manually. You must have appropriate versions of both:

ghc --numeric-version # Should be 7.6.* or 7.8.* or 7.10.*
cabal --version       # Should be 1.18.* or newer

GHC and Cabal may be installed in a number of other ways, including the Haskell Platform, as a standalone Mac app, via Homebrew with brew install ghc cabal-install, and so on.

Install ZeroMQ

Install ZeroMQ, a library IHaskell uses for asynchronous communication.

  • Mac OS X:
    • With Homebrew installed, run brew install zeromq. (If using 32-bit Haskell Platform, you may need to use brew install zeromq --universal. YMMV.)
    • With MacPorts installed, run ports install zmq
  • Ubuntu: Run sudo apt-get install libzmq3-dev.
  • Other: You can install ZeroMQ from source or use another package manager:
# Compiling from source:
git clone libzmq
cd libzmq
./ && ./configure && make
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

If your own platform has a package and I haven't included instructions for it, feel free to send me an email or a PR on this README.

Install Haskell Tools

(This section can be skipped when using stack)

First, make sure that executables installed by cabal are on your shell PATH:

# If you have a ~/.cabal/bin folder:
export PATH=~/.cabal/bin:$PATH

# If you have a ~/Library/Haskell/bin folder on OS X:
export PATH=~/Library/Haskell/bin:$PATH

Then, install the happy parser generator tool and cpphs preprocessor:

cabal install happy cpphs

Build IHaskell

Install IHaskell! You may install it from Stackage via stack install (check the latest version on []:

stack install ihaskell-

Or you may install it from Hackage via cabal install:

cabal install ihaskell --reorder-goals

As IHaskell updates frequently, you may also want to clone the repository and install from there:

git clone
cd IHaskell
./ ihaskell # Build and install IHaskell

The build script,, is a script for building IHaskell and dependencies. It has the following modes:

  • ihaskell: Build and install ihaskell and the two dependencies from this repository, ipython-kernel and ghc-parser.
  • quick: Just install ihaskell, do not bother recompiling and reinstalling its dependencies (ipython-kernel and ghc-parser).
  • display: Install ihaskell and all the support libraries in ihaskell-display/.
  • all: Install everything, including ihaskell, the dependencies, and all the support libraries in ihaskell-display/. It is run via ./ all or equivalent.

IHaskell may also be built in a sandbox, via something like:

cd IHaskell
cabal sandbox init
cabal sandbox add-source ihaskell-display/* ghc-parser ipython-kernel
cabal install . ihaskell-display/*

You may also need to use --extra-lib-dirs and --extra-include-dirs, if cabal cannot find relevant libraries. For example:

cabal install . ihaskell-display/* --extra-lib-dirs=`brew --prefix libmagic`/lib --extra-include-dirs=`brew --prefix libmagic`/include

You can also build IHaskell with stack instead of cabal:

cd IHaskell
stack install

The above will install ihaskell, all support libraries (specified in stack.yaml), and their dependencies. You can also specify which libraries to install, for example:

stack install ihaskell ihaskell-aeson ihaskell-diagrams

Mac OS X users using MacPorts may run into an issue involving libiconv. A solution is to add the following lines in the file stack.yaml:

- /usr/lib
- /usr/include

Run IHaskell

Run IHaskell:

  • ihaskell install to install the IHaskell kernel into Jupyter.
  • ipython notebook for the browser-based interactive notebook.
  • ipython console --kernel haskell for a REPL.

If you've installed IHaskell in a sandbox, you will need to make sure that IPython can access the contents of the sandbox. You can do this via cabal exec:

cabal exec ipython -- notebook

Likewise, if you've installed IHaskell with stack:

stack exec ipython -- notebook

(Optional) Install Support Libraries

IHaskell comes with many support libraries, such as ihaskell-diagrams, ihaskell-parsec, and so on, which add rich and interactive displays for common libraries. You can install these with cabal install. To install all of them, clone this repository and run ./ all to install IHaskell and all of its display support libraries.

You may run into some issues with installing the cairo dependency on Macs. To fix this, you can install gcc via brew and then use it to install cairo:

brew install gcc49
cabal install cairo --with-gcc=gcc-4.9


These are simply some problems have had and solutions to them.

Problem: You have Anaconda or Enthought or some other python distribution, and for unknown reasons IHaskell just hangs after the first input.

Solution: Anaconda and Enthought cause problems. Get rid of them.

Problem: You get an error when pyzmq is compiling that looks somewhat like

cc1: error: -Werror=unused-command-line-argument-hard-error-in-future: No option -Wunused-command-line-argument-hard-error-in-future

Solution: Rerun the command after changing the ARCHFLAGS variable via

export ARCHFLAGS=-Wno-error=unused-command-line-argument-hard-error-in-future

Problem: You'd like to have IHaskell run some code every time it starts up, like ~/.ghci or ~/.bashrc.

Solution: IHaskell uses ~/.ihaskell/rc.hs as its default configuration file; if you put code into that file (it may or may not exist), it will be loaded on startup. You can substitute a different file by passing the --conf=myfile.hs argument to ihaskell install to reconfigure the kernel.

Note: You may have some trouble due to browser caches with the notebook interface if you also use IPython's notebook interface or have used it in the past. If something doesn't work or IPython says it can't connect to the notebook server, make sure to clear the browser cache in whatever browser you're using, or try another browser.


IHaskell is a young project, and I'd love your help getting it to a stable and useful point. There's a lot to do, and if you'd like to contribute, feel free to get in touch with me via my email at andrew period gibiansky at gmail - although browsing the code should be enough to get you started, I'm more than happy to answer any questions myself.

For package maintainers: IHaskell has an ability to display data types it knows about with a rich format based on images or HTML. In order to do so, an external package ihaskell-something must be created and installed. Writing these packages is simply - they must just contain instance of the IHaskellDisplay typeclass, defined in IHaskell.Display, and for a package ihaskell-something should have a single module IHaskell.Display.Something. If you have a package with interesting data types that would benefit from a rich display format, please get in contact with me (andrew dot gibiansky at gmail) to write one of these packages! A sample package is available here.

Developer Notes

Before diving in, you should read the brief description of IPython kernel architectures and read the complete messaging protocol specification.

Please format your code with hindent --style gibiansky before submitting it; Travis CI automatically checks for code style before merging!

Loading IHaskell into GHCi for testing:

Use one of the methods below to access IHaskell files in GHCi. Once inside GHCi, you can load an IHaskell file; for example, :load IHaskell/Config.hs.

Using cabal repl

If you have the latest version of cabal (>v1.18.0), the simplest thing to do is

cd <path-to-IHaskell>
cabal repl

This will hide all packages not listed in IHaskell.cabal

Using GHCi directly

If you don't want to use cabal repl, you can just call ghci which can read the .ghci file included in the repository for the options.

cd <path-to-IHaskell>
chmod 600 .ghci # trust the .ghci file

Then in the ghci session you can type things like:

:set -package setenv
:load src/Hspec.hs
hspec parserTests
:browse IHaskell.Types