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

Nicholas Kormanik nkormanik at gmail.com
Fri Apr 27 23:59:55 CEST 2012


“You might find it easier to use languages like Perl, Python, or Ruby…”


In a nutshell, which of these to start with?  I’m totally clueless.  And it all seems so daunting.


Yes, I’m a big user of little nifty tools/utilities you programmers put out, free to the world.  It’s simply amazing what you programmers accomplish.  I’m always searching the web to find new ones.


But it would be terrific to be able to do some of that myself – if I could find a good practical ‘tool’ to make my own little tools, to extemporaneously cobble together as needed.





From: Joseph Fredette [mailto:jfredett at gmail.com] 
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 3:06 PM
To: nkormanik at gmail.com
Cc: beginners at haskell.org
Subject: Re: [Haskell-beginners] Haskell as a useful practical 'tool' for intelligent non-programmers


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 tool.


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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Beginners at haskell.org


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