Sunroof: Clockwork Progress

In this article, we are going to generate a JavaScript application. Last year, we wrote a blog post about using monad reification to implement a JavaScript compiler. The compiler, called Sunroof, is now in state that we can make the first public release. By way of a non-trivial example, this blog entry illustrates how to construct an analog clock as a self-contained JavaScript application that renders the clock using the HTML5 canvas element.

The Sunroof clock example

The Sunroof clock example

The JavaScript API for HTML5 canvas element is already provided by Sunroof in the module Language.Sunroof.JS.Canvas. Lets look how we can render one line of the clock face using Sunroof:

c # save
-- Draw one of the indicator lines
c # beginPath
c # moveTo (0, -u * 1.0)
ifB (n `mod` 5 ==* 0)
    (c # lineTo (0, -u * 0.8)) -- Minute line
    (c # lineTo (0, -u * 0.9)) -- Hour line
ifB (n `mod` 15 ==* 0)
    (c # setLineWidth 8 ) -- Quarter line
    (c # setLineWidth 3 ) -- Non-Quarter line
c # stroke
c # closePath
-- Draw of the hour numbers
ifB (n `mod` 5 ==* 0)
    (do
      c # translate (-u * 0.75, 0)
      c # rotate (-2 * pi / 4)
      c # fillText (cast $ n `div` 5) (0, 0)
    ) (return ())
c # restore

The monadic do-notation is used for sequencing JavaScript statements in a neat fashion.

The first few lines probably look familiar to people who have written JavaScript before.

c # save
-- Draw one of the indicator lines
c # beginPath
c # moveTo (0, -u * 1.0)

The #-operator is used instead of the .-operator in JavaScript. u represents the radius of the clock. Knowing this you can see that we are calling methods on the JavaScript object c (Our canvas context). The methods without parameters do not require empty parenthesis, as a Haskell programmer would expect. The tuple used in the call of moveTo is only there to indicate that this parameter is a coordinate, not two single numbers. You can also see that JavaScript numbers are neatly embedded using the Num-class and can be used naturally.

The next few lines show a branch.

ifB (n `mod` 5 ==* 0)
    (c # lineTo (0, -u * 0.8)) -- Minute line
    (c # lineTo (0, -u * 0.9)) -- Hour line

Haskell lacks the possibilities to deep embed branches and boolean expressions. For that reason we use the Data.Boolean package. Instead of if-then-else you are required to use ifB when writing JavaScript.

ifB (n `mod` 5 ==* 0)
    (do
      c # translate (-u * 0.75, 0)
      c # rotate (-2 * pi / 4)
      c # fillText (cast $ n `div` 5) (0, 0)
    ) (return ())

Note the cast operation in line five. As Haskell’s type system is more restrictive then the one used in JavaScript, we sometimes have to cast one value to another. This may seem more complicated then writing JavaScript by hand, but when using the API correctly (by not working around it) compile time errors can show mistakes in the code early.

Getting back to the initial code block: How do we render the other 59 lines of the clock face? We just wrap this code into a function. Of course, we do this at JavaScript level.

renderClockFaceLine <- function $ \
        ( c :: JSCanvas
        , u :: JSNumber
        , n :: JSNumber) -> do
  ...

We have just created the JavaScript function renderClockFaceLine with three parameters. So lets render the complete clock face using the forEach-method provided by arrays.

c # save
c # rotate (2 * pi / 4) -- 0 degrees is at the top
-- Draw all hour lines.
lines <- array [1..60::Int]
lines # forEach $ \n -> do
  c # save
  c # rotate ((2 * pi / 60) * n)
  renderClockFaceLine $$ (c, u, n)
  c # restore
c # restore -- Undo all the rotation.

The array combinator converts the list into a JavaScript array. The supplied function for the loop body takes the current element as a parameter. In the loop body you can see how the $$-operator is used just as the $-operator in Haskell to apply a JavaScript function to arguments. As the usefulness of partial application is questionable in the context of deep embedded JavaScript, we only allow uncurried functions.

Using these techniques we can render the clock with about 90 lines of Haskell.

clockJS :: JS A (JSFunction () ())
clockJS = function $ \() -> do
  -- Renders a single line (with number) of the clock face.
  renderClockFaceLine <- function $ \
        ( c :: JSCanvas
        , u :: JSNumber
        , n :: JSNumber) -> do
    c # save
    -- Draw one of the indicator lines
    c # beginPath
    c # moveTo (0, -u * 1.0)
    ifB (n `mod` 5 ==* 0)
        (c # lineTo (0, -u * 0.8)) -- Minute line
        (c # lineTo (0, -u * 0.9)) -- Hour line
    ifB (n `mod` 15 ==* 0)
        (c # setLineWidth 8 ) -- Quarter line
        (c # setLineWidth 3 ) -- Non-Quarter line
    c # stroke
    c # closePath
    -- Draw of the hour numbers
    ifB (n `mod` 5 ==* 0)
        (do
          c # translate (-u * 0.75, 0)
          c # rotate (-2 * pi / 4)
          c # fillText (cast $ n `div` 5) (0, 0)
        ) (return ())
    c # restore
  -- Renders a single clock pointer.
  renderClockPointer <- function $ \
        ( c :: JSCanvas
        , u :: JSNumber
        , angle :: JSNumber
        , width :: JSNumber
        , len :: JSNumber) -> do
    c # save
    c # setLineCap "round"
    c # rotate angle
    c # setLineWidth width
    c # beginPath
    c # moveTo (0, u * 0.1)
    c # lineTo (0, -u * len)
    c # stroke
    c # closePath
    c # restore
  -- Renders the clocks pointers for hours, minutes and seconds.
  renderClockPointers <- function $ \(c :: JSCanvas, u :: JSNumber) -> do
    (h, m, s) <- currentTime
    c # save
    c # setLineCap "round"
    -- Hour pointer
    renderClockPointer $$
      (c, u, (2 * pi / 12) * ((h `mod` 12) + (m `mod` 60) / 60), 15, 0.4)
    -- Minute pointer
    renderClockPointer $$
      ( c, u, (2 * pi / 60) * ((m `mod` 60) + (s `mod` 60) / 60), 10, 0.7)
    -- Second pointer
    c # setStrokeStyle "red"
    renderClockPointer $$ ( c, u, (2 * pi / 60) * (s `mod` 60), 4, 0.9)
    -- Restore everything
    c # restore
  -- Renders the complete face of the clock, without pointers.
  renderClockFace <- function $ \(c :: JSCanvas, u :: JSNumber) -> do
    c # save
    c # rotate (2 * pi / 4) -- 0 degrees is at the top
    -- Draw all hour lines.
    lines <- array [1..60::Int]
    lines # forEach $ \n -> do
      c # save
      c # rotate ((2 * pi / 60) * n)
      renderClockFaceLine $$ (c, u, n)
      c # restore
    c # restore -- Undo all the rotation.
  -- Renders the complete clock.
  renderClock <- continuation $ \() -> do
    u <- clockUnit
    (w,h) <- canvasSize
    c <- context
    -- Basic setup
    c # save
    c # setFillStyle "black"
    c # setStrokeStyle "black"
    c # setLineCap "round"
    c # setTextAlign "center"
    c # setFont ((cast $ u * 0.1) <> "px serif")
    c # setTextBaseline "top"
    c # clearRect (0,0) (w,h)
    c # translate (w / 2, h / 2)
    -- Draw all hour lines.
    renderClockFace $$ (c, u)
    -- Draw the clock pointers
    renderClockPointers $$ (c, u)
    c # restore
    return ()
  window # setInterval (goto renderClock) 1000
  -- and draw one now, rather than wait till later
  goto renderClock ()

  return ()

Using the sunroofCompileJSA function we can compile the deep embedded JavaScript into a string of actual JavaScript.

sunroofCompileJSA def "main" clockJS >>= writeFile "main.js"

The compiled string will contain a function main that executes our JavaScript. This is then called in the HTML file to execute.

There are a few small utilities used in the code. The current time is perceived by currentTime which uses the JavaScript date API provided by the module Language.Sunroof.JS.Date.

currentTime :: JS A (JSNumber, JSNumber, JSNumber)
currentTime = do
  date <- newDate ()
  h <- date # getHours
  m <- date # getMinutes
  s <- date # getSeconds
  return (h, m, s)

Note that this will literally copy the JavaScript produced by currentTime to where it is used, because it is not abstracted to a function in JavaScript. Every time you write Sunroof code that is not wrapped in a function, the Haskell binding will work like a macro.

The other helpers are just shortcuts to get certain values:

canvas :: JS A JSObject
canvas = document # getElementById "canvas"

context :: JS A JSCanvas
context = canvas >>= getContext "2d"

clockUnit :: JS A JSNumber
clockUnit = do
  (w, h) <- canvasSize
  return $ (maxB w h) / 2

canvasSize :: JS A (JSNumber, JSNumber)
canvasSize = do
  c <- jQuery "#canvas"
  w <- c # invoke "innerWidth" ()
  h <- c # invoke "innerHeight" ()
  return (w, h)

You can see the clock in action here.

As you can see Sunroof mirrors JavaScript closely, and allows access to the capabilities a browser provides. But is this Haskell for Haskell’s sake? We do not think so:

  • Sunroof is a deeply embedded DSL, so it is easy to write functions that generate custom code.
  • Sunroof provides some level of type safely on top of JavaScript, including typed arrays, finite maps, functions and continuations.
  • Sunroof also offers an abstraction over the JavaScript threading model, by providing two types of threads, atomic and (cooperatively) blocking. On top of this, Sunroof provides some Haskell concurrency patterns
    like MVar or Chan (JSMVar and JSChan).
  • Furthermore, the sunroof-server package offers a ready to use web-server to deploy generated JavaScript on the fly. It enables you to interleave Haskell and JavaScript computations as needed, through synchronous or asynchronous remote procedure calls.

A number of examples and a tutorial is provided on GitHub. Their Haskell sources can be found on github, they are part of the sunroof-examples package.

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