[Haskell-beginners] general observation about programming

Dennis Raddle dennis.raddle at gmail.com
Sat Feb 27 00:53:48 UTC 2016

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 2:08 PM, Michael Orlitzky <michael at orlitzky.com>

> On 02/26/2016 12:41 PM, Rein Henrichs wrote:
> > Pointfree is good for reasoning about *composition*. It can often be
> > more readable than pointful code when the focus of the function is on
> > composition of other functions. For example, take this function from
> > Bird's /Pearls of Functional Algorithm Design/:
> >
> >  boxes = map ungroup . ungroup . map cols . group . map group
> >
> > Compare the pointful version:
> >
> > boxes matrix = map ungroup (ungroup (map cols (group (map group
> matrix))))
> >
> > Readibility is subjective, but I think many people will agree that the
> > pointfree version is easier to read.
> >
> Sure, but does anyone have any idea what that first version is supposed
> to do? It would be much better to write it out:

On Haskell's readability, I am getting better at reading point-free and
idiomatic Haskell with practice, and I now think that a short Haskell
function with a meaningful type signature is much more readable that other
languages I've used.

On using short variable names, that plus point free style can make a lot of
expressions into one-liners, which I see as an advantage for comprehension
on the whole, even if you need to learn what the variables mean. Using 'm'
for a map, 'l' for a list, and other conventions helps.

Some styles make a program more readable when it is first encountered, but
my own pet project is something I've worked with for a long time, allowing
me to establish consistent and carefully thought-out naming schemes, not to
mention I'm familiar with the concepts, so I find it easier to read my own
code (say, written a long time ago) when it's concise (meaning point-free
in many cases).

One could argue that a public project needs to put greater focus on
readability to the uninitiated.

The Haskell hierarchical libraries are public, and their design seems, as
far as I can tell, intended to trade off toward the person who has become
expert in them rather than making everything obvious to the beginner. But
maybe I'm wrong about that.

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