[Haskell-cafe] Re: Why Haskell?

Hans van Thiel hthiel.char at zonnet.nl
Mon Aug 7 09:13:05 EDT 2006

Hello All,

Thanks for the many helpful replies to my question about the suitability
of Haskell for industrial/commercial application.
>From those I gather there are no licensing problems regarding the use of
the standard functions and modules. Use of proprietary modules may or
not be restricted by the authors, but of course this is to be expected
and fair.
Performance and size of Haskell programs don't seem to be problematic
either, at least for small and medium size applications.
Tool support, however, is less than for the more established languages.
But maybe the Eclipse support which is under development will be a
boost. Also, there are good interfaces with open source gui widgets etc.
So, the summary conclusion would be that Haskell can be used (and is
being used) provided the developers are aware that unexpected problems
may arise in practice. 
Advantages of Haskell seem to be short size of code (and all the
advantages that implies) and the high abstraction level and mathematical
rigour (which makes for less programming errors).

As for the 'popularity' of Haskell, someone made the very common sense
remark that all successful languages have been promoted by some large
corporation. (Please note 'successful' stands for 'spread of use', not
'quality' here.) If fp is to reach the mainstream, it will probably be
because of some centralized support from outside the academic world.
Maybe something like a 'Haskell Consortium' or 'Haskell Initiative' to
promote Haskell should be set up. An example could be the promotion of
SystemC for hardware and software co-design by the Open SystemC
Initiative www.systemc.org . Availability of an IEEE standard for
Haskell would also be a good thing for its acceptance, I think. 

That is, assuming 'mainstream' is the goal, of course.


Hans van Thiel

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