Aha, thanks, this works great!  Indeed, I was missing those two pieces, and 
there was also one other slight misconception I had to get past: it turns 
out that I implicitly thought 'stack build' meant 'do whatever is in the 
local stack.yaml', but I guess it actually means 'build the package in the 
working directory (using stack.yaml to guide how that should happen)'.  So 
when I put 'packages: []' and tried to 'stack build' of course I got an 
error saying that it could not find a package.  But once I figured out that 
I have to say 'stack build package1 package2 ...' it works great.  Thanks 
again for the help --- and also thanks to Neil for the example.


On Monday, February 12, 2018 at 3:42:49 AM UTC-6, Michael Snoyman wrote:
> IIUC, you're looking to define a `stack.yaml` file which will set up all 
> of the packages and settings, and then have a script you run to tell Stack 
> to build the appropriate packages. That sounds fine; I think the pieces 
> you're missing are:
> * In order to say "I have no local packages," include the line `packages: 
> []` in your `stack.yaml`
> * You can use the `flags` section in your `stack.yaml` to override default 
> cabal flags, see 
> https://docs.haskellstack.org/en/stable/yaml_configuration/#flags
> On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 6:14 AM, Brent Yorgey <byo...@gmail.com 
> <javascript:>> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I have a specific goal and I'm hoping you can help me figure out the best 
>> way to accomplish it using stack (or perhaps even using other tools if they 
>> make more sense).  I am working on a LaTeX document which contains embedded 
>> Haskell code for generating diagrams (
>> https://github.com/byorgey/series-formelles).  When the LaTeX file is 
>> compiled, a certain executable (diagrams-builder-pgf) needs to be present, 
>> which in turn uses the GHC API to compile and run the code embedded in the 
>> LaTeX document. In order for this to work, various libraries (diagrams-lib, 
>> diagrams-pgf, palette, etc...) need to be present in the GHC package 
>> database; I also need a specific version of GHC.  Getting this environment 
>> set up properly, with compatible versions of everything, can be a pain; I 
>> would like to create a script that others can run in order to reproducibly 
>> get a proper environment set up to be able to build the LaTeX document.
>> Stack seems like the obvious choice but I have run into a few 
>> difficulties trying to get it set up: first of all, as you can tell from my 
>> description above, I do not actually have a Haskell package.  There is no 
>> Haskell library or executable I am trying to build. But as far as I can 
>> tell, a stack project is supposed to contain one or more Haskell packages.  
>> I could try to make a "fake" Haskell package whose dependencies describe 
>> the things I want to end up being present in the package DB but I am not 
>> sure of the best way to do this, and it seems rather kludgy.  Really what I 
>> want is just a sandbox, but I can't really use a cabal sandbox because as 
>> far as I know that will just use whatever GHC version someone has 
>> installed, and I need a particular GHC version.  Secondly, in order to 
>> install the diagrams-builder-pgf executable, I need to pass a certain flag 
>> to the diagrams-builder package when it is built, but I'm not clear on 
>> exactly how to do this using stack.
>> So, what do you think?  Is there a good way to do this with stack?  Or 
>> should I look at some other way to get this set up?  Thanks in advance for 
>> any ideas or advice.  I'm happy to answer questions or provide further 
>> information.
>> -Brent
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