[Haskell-cafe] Haskell's market

Arnaud Bailly abailly at norsys.fr
Tue Mar 28 06:58:53 EST 2006

Hello haskellers,
I have been following this list's debates for a while
and I am very enthusiastic about functional programming in general and
haskell in particular. I am on the verge of starting a new sofware development project for  a
customer and I wonder whether or not Haskell would be the right tool
to do the job. 

The project is a Point-of-sale distributed management system with the
following (non-exhaustive) list of features : 
 - rich GUI clients (on windows platform) to allow optimizing users input speed. There will
 about 50-60 'screens' and half as many 'reports',
 - local database with possibility to replicate and aggregate data,
 - central repository for aggregated data, aggregation should be
 synchronous but may fail due to poor network connectivity,
 - ease of deployment/update for new versions or modules,
 - secured (authenticated and encrypted) communications between nodes,
 - ...

All in all, this project is quite typical of a small to medium sized
business information system which is commonplace in software
services. There are no stringent performance requirements nor
extraordinary functional features or tricky algorithms, but the
allocated time-frame (and money :-)) is quite small and I would like
to optimize design and coding time to concentrate on user acceptance,
deployment and testing issues.

Java and object-oriented 'paradigm' is nearly hardwired in my brain so
I expect quite a painful learning process to shift towards thinking
in functional terms: I know quite well the theory but never did I put
it to use on a significant scale.

More profoundly, I am asking myself whether this investment will be
really worthwhile for this kind of software. I have read with joy and
amazement S.P.Jones "Composing contracts: an adventure in financial
engineering" and P.Hudak's "An experiment in software prototyping
productivity", but I have also followed the discussions with J.Reymont
about its poker server tester and read "Haskell vs. Erlang,
Reloaded". I am not asking anyone to 'sell' me Haskell, that would be
like selling ice to a penguin as I am already convinced Haskell is
really interesting in itself. And I am willing to do some investment
in time and money to use Haskell at the expense of another simpler but
less elegant solution (read Java :-)). 

I would be very happy to have some feedback about these issues,

Arnaud Bailly, Dr. - Ingénieur de Recherche 
1, rue de la Cense des Raines
ZAC du Moulin
Tel : (33) 3 28 76 56 76
Mob : (33) 6 17 12 19 78
Fax : (33) 3 28 76 57 00
Web : http://www.norsys.fr

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