Will Haskell be commercialized in the future?

D. Tweed tweed@compsci.bristol.ac.uk
Fri, 24 Nov 2000 11:01:42 +0000 (GMT)

On Fri, 24 Nov 2000, Jason Stokes wrote:

> I very much doubt that a "pure" Haskell (ie, a pure functional language)
> is a marketable proposition, but certainly "impure" functional languages
> or languages with heavy functional aspects (ML, Lisp, Erlang etc.) which
> retain imperative elements have the potential to break through and start
> a resurgence of functional techniques in the commercial world.  Before
> that happens people must become disillusioned with Java, C, C++ and
> other mainstays of the commercial developer, of course.

This is probably stating the obvious but...

I'm not sure that impure features are necessary if you are thinking of
using Haskell as a component language -- a component language
which is functional -- which will be used for parts of systems where it is
believed to be appropriate. I'm working on an industrial project in a
university setting and (once I get this damned PhD written up) will be
working on an image processing/archiving system. I plan to use Haskell as
a language to be called from the main C++ code for those algorithms which
are easy to code in Haskell but not in C++. I doubt that I'll be using
anything which isn't pure functional (e.g., monads) simply because I can't
conceive of any problem where using them wouldn't mean the particular
algorithm wouldn't be better written in C++. I've been criticised
(possibly rightly :-) ) for saying that part of the reason why functional
languages aren't more widely used is that people who understand C regard
them as weird. (This isn't theory--this is what the people I work with say
to me; I may just work with atypical people :-) ) It seems much more
likely that they'll become popular if they can enroach from being
component languages, rather than expecting a full beach-head of whole
systems being implemented entirely in functional languages.

Of course, I'm wrong about lots of things...

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