[Haskell-beginners] Haskell as a useful practical 'tool' for intelligent non-programmers

Joseph Fredette jfredett at gmail.com
Fri Apr 27 23:05:50 CEST 2012

It seems to me that what you're looking for is a way to build tools suited
to particular tasks, subject to particular performance constraints. If
you're goal is to be able to build these tools yourself, I would say that,
by definition, you are intending to be a programmer; inasmuch as a
programmer is a person who's job is to build tools using a tool-building

To that end, I recommend Haskell as a good language to use to build
performant tools, especially for stuff like data-analysis, where speed is a
factor. Branching out from there, you may want to look at and learn about
Hadoop and similar technologies, MapReduce is a very powerful tool for
large-scale data analytics.

Along those lines, languages like R are optimized for datacrunching and
data visualization, and are certainly worth learning about.

So, in essence, I guess I'd say that if you're intention is to learn about
practical, generic tools; then by definition your intention _is_ to be a
programmer, and therefore you may want to consider approaching the problem
from that point of view.

If your goal is merely to consume tools -- perhaps writing a small amount
of code, you (I think) still have intention (if unseen) to be a programmer,
but you might find it easier to use languages like Perl, Python, or Ruby --
which have large standard libraries, good ability to function as "glue" and
low syntactic and semantic overhead (that is to say, they're a bit easier
to write) than some languages (eg, Erlang, Haskell, R, etc.)

That's not to say it's hard to write good code in the latter set of
languages, merely that it requires (I think) more understanding of a
potentially more complicated model (especially true with haskell).

I don't know if that answers your question, I hope it helps.


On Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 4:16 PM, Nicholas Kormanik <nkormanik at gmail.com>wrote:

> I am not a programmer, and have no intention of becoming one. I'm a stock
> and options trader. MetaStock is one of the primary programs I use. Other
> statistical and mathematical programs as well.
> Very often when some small need arises, I Google-search for a solution.
> There seems to be any number of freeware utilities out there in cyberland
> --
> and more all the time -- that do pretty much whatever is needed.
> Additionally, Mathematica (as one example) has a powerful programming
> language built in.
> So, my question is: Does it make practical sense to spend time learning
> Haskell for the purpose of adding it to my assortment of 'tools' -- to
> quickly do this or that, as the need arises?
> Is there any better general practical 'tool' (or, if you want, 'programming
> language') to add to my arsenal.
> Thanks for your comments and suggestions.
> Nicholas Kormanik
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