Create docker image to speed up initial build of hakyll
As mentioned in this @axil’s comment, a custom docker image could speed up the initial build.
The problem is a hakyll site is a full fledged application with its own dependencies (hakyll is only one of them). We could have something like
RUN stack install hakyll
which would install hakyll globally, but then we would have no guarantee that the installed hakyll version matches the version specified in the site dependencies. (Note that the same thing happens with the Haskell version but it is not that severe because Haskell updates less frequently and individual Haskell versions are usually mostly compatible.)
Another problem is with caching additional dependencies, other than hakyll. Stack caches the already built libraries in something like $STACK_ROOT/precompiled/x86_64-linux/ghc-7.10.3/184.108.40.206 (where $STACK_ROOT is $HOME/.stack by default). If we install, for example, gd package for creating thumbnails, the built library will be stored into the directory. Between the CI builds, we are only able to cache the files inside project directory, though – which is why we currently have the $STACK_ROOT set to be inside the project directory.
We can create a default Docker package with only hakyll installed, but the main reason for using hakyll is its customizability and having to choose between
longer wait on first build, subsequent builds are cached (current state)
fast first build, fast subsequent builds if you did not use any additional libraries, slow subsequent builds if you did (default Docker package)
every build is fast but you have to roll your own docker image (kinda beats the whole purpose of these templates)
@jtojnar agreed, but my concern about cache is that it might not always be there since we use shared Runners running on DigitalOcean and they are pretty ephemeral. If you update your hakyll site once a week then you have to wait 30min for it to build every time. Were do you declare the haskell dependencies? I see there is https://gitlab.com/pages/hakyll/blob/master/pages-hakyll.cabal and then you have the import declaration in site.hs.
Anyway, our goal is to provide a generic .gitlab-ci.yml that works for almost everybody, no need to go into details. An experienced user will just edit .gitlab-ci.yml to their needs.
The point is, unlike most other SSGs, Hakyll is only a library – you have to write a generator (site.hs) yourself. Also, a majority of hakyll users will be experienced and will use additional dependencies.
I am more and more inclined to use custom docker image and add instructions how to upgrade the image to README, although it will mean the dependencies will have to be specified in two places (cabal file and Dockerfile).