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

umptious umptious at gmail.com
Sat Apr 28 17:38:54 CEST 2012

On 27 April 2012 21:16, Nicholas Kormanik <nkormanik at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.

No one can give you advice on what tool to use without knowing what the
task or who you are in more detail than you provided. And you're often
better with several tools than "general" one - trying to saw with a hammer
isn't easy.

Unless you're unusually smart in the IQ sense and/or have a maths or formal
logic background, then I'd say that Haskell would be a miserable choice for
a first programming language.

As for tools you might look at for tasks that I ***guess*** that a trader
is likely to want to do:

- For web scraping and text mining, Groovy, Clojure, Ruby, Python and
(maybe) Perl are reasonable choices

- For both number crunching and symbolic maths, look at sagemaths (which is
scripted in Python) - it's a reasonable free alternative to both Matlab
(number crunching) and Mathematic (symbolics)

..Which I suppose makes Python the no-brainer choice. Python is easy to
learn, the community is supportive, there are lots of reasonable books and
tutorials. I think it also has stuff around for working with Excel
spreadsheets, which I'd imagine you might want to do.

Haskell is actually a better language than any of the above (leaving aside
learnability and without defining "better") but for real world use
libraries count more than language features. It would take you years to
write the equivalent of sagemaths in Haskell, which rather negates
Haskell's advantages if you need that functionality.
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