[Haskell-cafe] Learning Haskell

John Velman velman at cox.net
Mon Dec 5 19:44:52 EST 2005

I think you should take a look at some of the tutorial material you can
find at www.haskell.org and jump in.

For some reason there seems to be an affinity between Python and Haskell.
Not clear to me why, since on the surface there is little similarity of

If you think you might like it well enough to get a book, there are several
good ones.  I think Paul Hudack's "The Haskell School of Expression" might
be a good start for you (I'm assuming that the SOEGraphics library is
readily available.  Once when I complained that I couldn't find it, someone
told me I should have been able to!)   Also, Simon Thompson's "The Craft of
Functional Programming" is very good.

Haskell should be good for doing small 'throw away' programs, once you get
used to the IO.

Caveats, and truth in advertising:

1. I'm pretty much a Haskell novice.  Although I've lurked in the foothills
here for some years, only recently have I had a chance to try to get up to
speed for something relatively serious.

2. I intend to use Haskell for most of what I used to use Perl for, in the
way of small programs.  I haven't actually done this, since I haven't had
the need. (I'm currently working on a parser for the Conceptual Graph
Interchange Format (CGIF) -- which will be a small program itself, using Parsec.
I hope to use it as part of a graphical CG editor, eventually.  If I ever
get time I intend to rewrite my Prolog/Postgresql bank statement tracking
and reconciling program using Haskell/Postgresql, but that's a ways down on
my list.)

3. I have been certified to have a strong math background :-), so take my
advice with a grain of salt.  I definitely don't understand monads, but can
use them in a primative, unsophisticated way.  I think if you can get along
ok in Python and <groan> java script </groan> you ought to be able to get
along ok in Haskell.

4. If you want a GUI, there are several in the works but (as far as I
know), none standard.  I'm using HTk, because of an old slow machine and
previous knowledge of tcl/Tk.  I also tried developing a little drawing
program with GTK2HS, but its development was moving too fast for me.
wxHaskell is also pretty active.  Others may have better advice.

5. Oh, and my platform is Linux.  I used to use Hugs on Windows a long time
ago when my job required Windows.

Happy Haskelling!

John Velman

On Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 04:26:20PM -0600, Jimmie Houchin wrote:
> Hello,
> I am exploring the possibility of learning Haskell. I am not a 
> professional programmer, nor do I have a CS or Math degree.
> I do play and program with Python, Smalltalk (Squeak), Javascript, 
> explored Erlang some.
> I do not have a strong math background.
> Is lack of strong math background a major hindrance to learning Haskell?
> Also, I understand Haskell's benefits for programming larger projects.
> But how does it do on programming in the small?
> ie: using Haskell where I might have used Python for scripting?
> Thanks for any help and wisdom.
> Jimmie Houchin
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