[Haskell-cafe] Re: Aim Of Haskell

Andy Georges andy.georges at elis.ugent.be
Tue Dec 12 18:33:44 EST 2006


On 13 Dec 2006, at 00:17, Joachim Durchholz wrote:

> Kirsten Chevalier schrieb:
>> I think that it would serve this
>> community well if somebody was able to achieve a better understanding
>> of the social reasons why some programming languages are adopted and
>> some aren't. I think all of us already know that the reason isn't
>> "because some are better than others," but it might be time for
>> someone to go beyond that.
> Actually, it's quite simple: following the ideology de jour and  
> teaching-relevant support.
> Teachers will teach what's mainstream ideology (I'm using  
> "ideology" in a strictly neutral sense here).
> Pascal was popular because teachers felt that structured  
> programming should be taught to the masses, and you couldn't abuse  
> goto in Pascal to make a program unstructured.
> Later, universities shifted more towards "economic usefulness".  
> Which made C (and, later, Java) much more interesting ideologically.

Since the rise of Java, our university has been teaching almost  
nothing else. A short course in C, the FP course is being phased out.  
Some teachers had an interest in having Java knowledgeable kids  
graduating. I guess the industry also asked for Java knowledge in  
general. I think it's sad for the students. A language is sometimes  
more than just syntax, the paradigms it uses should be known, and  
I've seen too many students who have no clue what a pointer is, who  
cannot apply simply things such as map and filter ... I'm no haskell  
wizard, but the very basics I do grok.

> Teaching-relevant support means: readily available tools. I.e.  
> compilers, debuggers, editor support, and all of this with campus  
> licenses or open sourced.
> I don't think that Haskell can compete on the ideological front  
> right now. That domain is firmly in the area of C/C++/Java. Erlang  
> isn't really winning here either, but it does have the advantage of  
> being connected to success stories from Ericsson.
> To really compete, Haskell needs what people like to call  
> "industrial-strength": industrial-strength compilers, industrial- 
> strength libraries, industrial-strength IDEs. In other words,  
> seamless Eclipse and Visual Studio integration, heaps and heaps of  
> libraries, and bullet-proof compilers, all of this working right  
> out of the box. (I see that this all is being worked on.)

Having a(n important) company backing Haskell in a platform- 
independent way would certainly help, IMHO. But to convince people to  
use it, they need to be taught before they go out to find a job.

-- Andy

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