[Haskell-beginners] general observation about programming

Dudley Brooks dbrooks at runforyourlife.org
Thu Feb 25 16:17:45 UTC 2016

Ages and ages ago I saw this advice about programming:

Q:  "What's the best language for a programmer to know?"

A:  "English" (or whatever your native language is)

-- Dudley

On 2/24/16 4:03 PM, Dennis Raddle wrote:

> This is more about programming in general than Haskell, although 
> Haskellers probably know it well.
> I don't claim to have expert knowledge on this, but I'm gradually 
> getting better at it.
> When I set out to write a program, or refactor a program, or modify a 
> program, it helps to set out my thinking in a clear way. And how I 
> make it clear is to document my thoughts.
> An outline is one good way to organize thoughts and is probably my 
> main tool. But good English prose is also helpful.
> The key factor is "editing." In what sense do I mean that? Good 
> writers do it, and the Haskell documentation does it. I mean (1) 
> brevity and (2) good flow. To achieve brevity, you must think about 
> the essence of each statement and trim away the unnecessary stuff. 
> Good flow refers to how the document builds up and modifies your 
> concepts as you read it. A document can actually mirror an effective 
> learning process, or influence and change your process.
> I work with my documentation, making several editing passes. By the 
> time I'm done, I am in a great position to write a concise and 
> flexible program.
> It's interesting that not only is Haskell a concise language, but the 
> Haskell library documentation is concise. Contrast that with the 
> Python documentation which often wanders about into areas that are 
> irrelevant--it could easily be cut into one third its present size.
> Mike
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