[Haskell-cafe] Learning Haskell

Donn Cave donn at drizzle.com
Tue Dec 6 01:52:43 EST 2005

Quoth Jimmie Houchin <jhouchin at cableone.net>:
| Haskell looks like a very interesting language. I am only so-so with
| Python and I thought that maybe if instead of spending sufficient time
| to get proficient with Python, I could invest a similar time (more or
| less) and get reasonably (pragmatically speaking) proficient with
| Haskell. I know I may never understand the theory and maths behind the
| design, but I believe I can appreciate the design and be a decent user
| of the tools it provides.

I'm coming from a similar background, Python early adopter (well, they
do have something in common!  Just something sort of trivial.) and no
great math background.

I find Haskell MUCH more mentally rigorous.  I don't think that's just
because I have previously been living in "imperative" land, it's because
Haskell gets far more abstract.  I have lately been thinking I might
see if I can achieve a clear understanding of StateT.  Not in any
theoretical or mathematical sense, just want to understand how it goes
together where honestly right now it seems kind of like magic.  Not
complaining, there could be worse things than magic like that, but
I'm just saying our mathematical ignorance doesn't excuse us from some
mental heavy lifting that doesn't compare to anything in Python.

Then there are performance issues with Haskell that don't come up in
other languages.  I have tried to do things like analyze big text files
with Haskell and given up, because I could not figure out how to get
within an order of magnitude of reasonable completion time.  I still
think it's possible, though maybe not with standard String type, but
anyway it's something to look out for.

| I am also hoping to use it for web development.

Wonder how `links' is coming along.  (Hope they figured out a better
name, anyway.)


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