[Haskell-beginners] general observation about programming
jeffbrown.the at gmail.com
Thu Feb 25 19:19:24 UTC 2016
Something I like about functional programming is how it interfaces with
natural language. Haskell, somehow to a greater extent than other
languages, encourages me to divide functions into one or two-liners. Each
has a type signature that means something in English. Further, each gives
you the opportunity to choose a good name for the function and its
arguments. After doing those things, the function is much easier to write,
and much easier to read -- so much so that often you don't have to read the
function body at all, just the type signature, function name and argument
On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 8:17 AM, Dudley Brooks <dbrooks at runforyourlife.org>
> 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.
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Jeffrey Benjamin Brown
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