[Haskell-cafe] Non-technical Haskell question

Jason Bailey azrael at demonlords.net
Fri Dec 3 10:45:32 EST 2004

Keean Schupke wrote:

> Jason Bailey wrote:
>> I mean I think its a really cool idea, and I'm having fun learning 
>> it. But I would be hard pressed to come up with a justification to 
>> introduce this into our business environment.
> How about increased productivity, and more stuff right first time...
> Keean.
No offense but those are just catch phrases. They can support a 
justification but won't work as a justification in its own right.

Here are some questions that I would expect to get from business.

Q:"What have I heard about this technology?"
A: Probably nothing. Haskell isn't very well known in the programming 
community (out of 6 co-workers asked, one had used Haskell in a single 
college class), let alone the business community. Business has become 
very wary about accepting technologies that are obscure.

Q:"What can I do with this language that I can't do now?"
A:Well nothing. It can certainly do some things better then the current 
languages out there, but its just another general purpose language.

Q:"Will it require training?"
A: Oh yes, we're talking about a different way of looking at programs. 
On the surface level it should be fairly easy to pick up but it will 
take some time before the engineers are able to produce decent work. Oh 
and there are no training classes we can send people to. They will have 
to learn on their own.

Q:"Whats the market like for Haskell programmers?"
A: Well there isn't one. Which means that if business was going to 
advertise for someone with haskell programming knowledge they are going 
to end some spending a premium on them.

Q:"Why should we support yet another programming language?"
A: Because this is a better language. (Wouldn't work as an answer but I 
would give it a try. )

And this is just the business side. I kinda shudder at the thought of 
telling a room full of engineers that they need to abandon their current 
status as object level gurus and learn some language that the majority 
of them have never heard of. :)

I think the most important aspect of getting haskell acceptance is mind 
share. Both from a  programming perspective and a business perspective. 
People need to have heard of haskell and be familiar with the concepts 
behind it before they will be willing to give it a try. Also the larger 
the corporation the less likely this is going to happen. But with mind 
share I can see smaller corps and smaller IT departments moving over to it.


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