Will Haskell be commercialized in the future?

Nick Kallen nkallen@uclink4.berkeley.edu
Fri, 24 Nov 2000 18:50:21 -0800

> XSLT is kind of cool and taking off.  Not exactly functional but
> there is no
> destructive assignment.

Having written many thousands of lines of XSLT, it's more than cool: it's
fantastic. That it has no destructive assignment is not at all a point in
its favor (though not one against it since it doesn't need it): XSLT is a
declarative language, it's computational model is based on the notion of
matching a node to a "template" and transforming said node... which makes it
perfect for its domain: transforming XML documents.

...XSLT is a domain specific language, and that is why it is so wonderful;
and also, I hope, an indication of what Programming Languages of the Future
([echo] future, future, ...) will look like... The main obstacle is bringing
DSL's out of esoterica (e.g., Robotics control) and into the mainstream
(e.g., GUI design). I'm optimistic: XML is being used for this purpose
(where 'computation' can be expressed declaratively, i.e., as a document),
for example, in ASP+. Other DSL's, e.g., WebL (Compaq's Web Language) have
had moderate success as well...

As for Ye Olde General Purpose Language, I hope that notion dies... Instead
to be replaced by the Programming in the Large language, which should have
extensive facilities for interacting with DSL's. I, of course, love Haskell
to death, but my vote has to go to the (emerging) ML2000, with its first
class modules, higher-order polymorphism, object types, strict evaluation,
and imperative references...

> A lot of the things Haskell excels at (IMO) inferior tools are being used
> in place.  For example, Microsoft has build good XSLT translators and two
> new compilers (C#, VB7) in the last couple years. Unfortunately, C#, not
> Haskell, will probably be "the" language for the next decade.
> Fortunately,
> C++ will not be the  language of the next decade.

Time will tell... I'm writing a lot of VB these days. I expect that it would
be a giant bitch to write XMLDOM manipulation stuff in Haskell since the DOM
is so imperative and OOey. (It's not that great in VB, but I'm sure as hell
glad I'm not writing it in Java, if for no other reason than the casting
would be a constant syntactic annoyance.)


Of course, I'm designing an XML generation language (aimed at a different
domain than XSLT and XDuce, but with vaguely similar intentions to
XMLambda). And I hope, of course, that this will be "the" language for the
next decade ;). (Notice how I think that the important language for the next
10 years will be an XML processing language)