We need "Documentation" (Was: Re: Integer to String Conversion?)

Eray Ozkural (exa) erayo@cs.bilkent.edu.tr
Tue, 4 Dec 2001 11:16:36 +0200

Hash: SHA1

On Tuesday 04 December 2001 02:51, you wrote:
> On Tue, 4 Dec 2001, Chris wrote:
> > is there a function that converts Integers to Strings and vice versa?
> Prelude> (reads "123 abc") :: [(Integer, String)]
> [(123," abc")]
> Prelude> show 123
> "123"

That's the reason why I hadn't been able to join some famous programming 
contest :) When my brain had already melted I couldn't find how to do this in 
the documentation for 30 minutes. I had assumed there would have been a 
specific conversion facility... But I think there are other reasons than my 
sleepy state at the moment.

Why doesn't an author or two who have written Haskell books consider opening 
their books for public use on the Internet? "The Craft Of ..." especially 
seems great. I'm sure many coders would appreciate a non-dead-tree version of 
that book or a shortened version of the book.

The material we have is simply lacking. What we need is a good tutorial and a 
comprehensive reference book. The current state of documentation is far from 
that. The tutorial should be a tutorial, it should teach all that is needed 
for basic programming, and probably go beyond that, with examples explained 
in detail and such. (The tutorial on the web is not like that). The reference 
manual again must go ahead with examples, and a logical organization of 
programming concepts and language features. Otherwise Haskell is never going 
to find too much appeal in application programming; it will remain in 
obscurity in research centers and extreme hacker quarters.

For coders who have not written papers about Haskell, the documentation is 
maximally cryptic.

I could find only a single decent book in our university's library, it was a 
functional algorithms book that gave examples in Haskell. Without that book, 
I could never have written the code I wrote within a small amount of time. 
There was the Miranda version of "The Craft Of..", but I didn't want to do 
too much guessing. So basically, I was left with that book which had an 
introductory chapter (I don't remember the exact name of the book) to Haskell 
and the online docs. The tutorial chapter of the book, which was an 
algorithms book, turned out to be much better than what the online docs had 
to offer although its purpose was to teach only a small subset of the 
language for algorithm design.


- -- 
Eray Ozkural (exa) <erayo@cs.bilkent.edu.tr>
Comp. Sci. Dept., Bilkent University, Ankara
www: http://www.cs.bilkent.edu.tr/~erayo
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