[Haskell-cafe] Re: Haskell's market

Pete Chown 1 at 234.cx
Tue Mar 28 07:54:07 EST 2006

Arnaud Bailly wrote:

> 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.

One snag is that I doubt you could ring up an agency and ask for half a 
dozen Haskell programmers.  You could probably get people who did a bit 
of functional programming as part of a computer science degree, but that 
may not be enough for your needs.  (Having said that, if you did manage 
to find contract Haskell programmers, you would probably get people who 
were highly skilled, and enthusiastic about the chance to use the language.)

In other words, Haskell might be a good answer technically, but it could 
paint the client into a corner business-wise.

I currently have a small amount of business logic that is implemented in 
Haskell, and I want to see it increase, but I'm always worried that this 
is going to happen.  I don't want a job for life maintaining this stuff, 
I want to delegate it to others at an appropriate time.

> All in all, this project is quite typical of a small to medium sized
> business information system which is commonplace in software
> services.

You might find that Java, for example, would have more support for this 
type of application, out of the box.  Although Java is an unimaginative 
language, I find that productivity isn't too bad, mainly because there 
is plenty of library support for typical applications.  With Haskell, 
writing the business logic is quicker, but some of the time saved gets 
spent implementing things that come as standard with Java.

> 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.

I'm finding this quite a struggle, to be honest.  I can cope easily with 
the various homework assignments that get posted here, but I find it 
hard thinking about large applications in functional terms.  I'm 
building up to larger applications, but I'd feel nervous tackling 
something the size you are talking about at the moment.


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