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

Lorenzo Bolla lbolla at gmail.com
Sat Apr 28 15:25:27 CEST 2012

On Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 02:16:38PM -0600, Nicholas Kormanik 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

I think the choice of which language really depends on the problems you
want to solve. But rest assured: once you've learned the first language,
learning more is simpler...

As a first language, I would definitely go (as I did, in the past) for
Python. The basics are easy to learn, it's great as general purpose
language, it's well supported and has a massive user base.
The standard library is very complete and there are additional high
quality libraries to do mathematical and statistical analysis (google
for numpy, scipy, pandas, pytables, ...). I would choose Python 2.7, and
avoid 3.x to be able to choose from more libraries (just a small subset
have been ported to 3.x).

If you find programming interesting (as we all here do, I believe),
than, once you've familiarized with Python, you should definitely give
Haskell a try: I'm a beginner in Haskell, but I can say it's been the
most enjoyable language to learn so far.


Lorenzo Bolla
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