[Haskell-cafe] First steps in Haskell

Wolfgang Jeltsch wolfgang at jeltsch.net
Mon Dec 19 05:20:37 EST 2005

Am Sonntag, 18. Dezember 2005 18:02 schrieb Daniel Carrera:
> Chris Kuklewicz wrote:
> > Almost everything is explained under
> >
> > http://www.haskell.org/ghc/docs/6.4.1/html/users_guide/ghci.html
> Ok. How would a visitor to the Haskell site find this document?

The point is that the visitor should know that he/she might need a document 
about GHCi if he/she wants to use GHCi.  A introductionary document about 
Haskell might not explain a specific Haskell system.  If you read a book 
which is about C++ in general, it won't tell you how to use the GNU C++ 
compiler or Microsoft Visual C++.

If you know that you need some GHC(i) documentation, it shouldn't be much of a 
problem to find it.  Go to the GHC homepage, click on "Documentation" and you 
will find "The User's Guide" whose short description tells you that it covers 

> If this is the correct document for a beginner to start with Haskell,
> perhaps the site should be updated to point to it instead of the documents
> it currently points to.

At least, the site currently points to the GHC homepage.

> I find some usability problems in the documentation section.

Which documentation section do you mean?

> Think of usability in terms of barriers. If you have low barriers, a lot of
> people will have enough motivation to cross them and get started with
> Haskell. If the barriers are very high, only the most intent and motivated
> users will get started. Barriers are bad.

Maybe, some barriers could be lowered but I don't think that the barriers are 
currently "very high".  What do others think?

> Consider some barriers for a user who wants to learn Haskell:
> * There's no way for a new user to figure out how to successfully run
> the simplest Haskell program.

There is!  "The Hugs 98 User's Guide" and "The GHC User's Guide".

> * The first tutorial listed requires the user to give up some personal
> information before getting the tutorial.

That's bad, of course.

> These are very significant barriers.

Concerning the latter one, I agree with you.

> Sure, it's not all bad. For example, Haskell has a friendly community
> (low barrier).


> But the barriers that exist are a problem because they hit the person who is
> trying to take the very very first step. If you can make that *fist* step
> easier, more people will take it. 

What do you mean with "*fist* step"? :-) :-)

> [...]

> Best,
> Daniel.

Best wishes,

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