[Haskell-cafe] Explaining monads
mvanier at cs.caltech.edu
Tue Aug 14 20:53:05 EDT 2007
For what it's worth, the nature of Haskell is such that you do (at least currently) have to spend a
lot of time reading research papers to understand what's going on. Maybe that will change sometime,
but probably not soon. This ties in to the open-endedness of Haskell; I sometimes think that really
understanding all of Haskell is like really understanding all of mathematics. This is frustrating,
but it's also what makes the language so rewarding. I guess what I'm saying is: get used to it,
it's not so bad.
Derek Elkins wrote:
> On Tue, 2007-08-14 at 12:40 -0500, Lanny Ripple wrote:
>> Derek Elkins wrote:
>>> What people need to do is stop reading two page blog posts by someone
>>> who's "just got" monads and read the well-written peer-reviewed papers
>> I have taught many people to program in group settings and
>> individually in my career. I have referred them to many
>> tutorials. I have used many examples from tutorials I thought
>> were useful. I can't recall a single time I've ever turned to a
>> beginner and said, "And you really should brush up on the
>> peer-reviewed papers to learn this part."
> How about a book? You've never recommended a book? But even so, where
> did I say tutorial? The -are- good monad tutorials, they are just
> horribly out-weighed by bad ones. Further, having a tutorial as
> supplement to person-to-person education is totally different from
> trying to learn purely from tutorials. Also, what is wrong with papers
> or recommending them? Finally, how often have you been part of a
> community where the primary mode of documentation is a research paper...
>>> by the people who clearly know what they are talking about. Luckily,
>>> for monads applied to Haskell we have Wadler, a witty, enjoyable and
>>> clear writer/speaker. All of Wadler's monad "introductions" are
>>> readable by anyone with a basic grasp of Haskell. You certainly don't
>>> need to be even remotely an academic to understand them. I'm willing to
>>> bet that many people who say they don't understand monads and have read
>>> "every tutorial about them" haven't read -any- of Wadler's papers.
>> I'm confused. Are you praising Wadler or bashing the tutorials
>> (or both)? *I* was carping about the tutorials (and even
>> mentioned that Wadler was my breakthrough) so I suspect we are in
>> violent agreement.
> I'm praising Wadler and bashing the good majority of monad tutorials,
> but not all of them. Mostly I'm pointing out an unreasonable aversion
> to reading papers, as if a paper couldn't possibly be understandable.
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