[Haskell-cafe] Haskell for the Enterprise (topic for a MSc dissertation?)

Lars Oppermann loppermann at acm.org
Wed Aug 15 09:04:16 EDT 2007

Hi All,

This is my first post here, so I'll start with a quick introduction... I
live and work in Hamburg, Germany. My day job is as a software engineer at
Sun Microsystems at the OpenOffice.org development team where I'm mostly
doing XML (ODF) related things. Beside of that, I'm currently pursuing an
M.Sc degree in software engineering in a part-time post graduate program
where I am now nearing the phase where I have to develop a topic for my

Apart from a little dabbling with Miranda during my undergraduate CS days I
haven't touched functional programming ever since and have been doing Java,
C# and C++ most of the time. However, I have over the last few month "fallen
in love" with the great expressiveness offered by Haskell and through that
have gained some great new perspectives and discovered new ways to think
when writing programs.

Consequently, my idea to combine all of this into a topic for my
dissertation is to write about the existing and potential benefits (and
shortcomings) of a functional programming language for the development of
typical enterprise applications (especially with regards to more and more
concepts from functional programming being adopted in imperative languages).
I would start off with an existing J2EE application, analyze the
abstractions and patterns that it uses. I will then discuss similar and
alternative abstractions and patterns available in functional programming
which can be applied in order to solve the same problem in a functional
setting, leveraging some existing infrastructure, such as HAppS. What would
follow is a comparison of the two resulting applications from a software
engineering standpoint: How maintainable are these implementations? How can
they be tested? Can formal validation techniques be applied to parts of the
functional implementation that can be used to establish its correctness.
Maybe analysis of performance...

One of my potential supervisors for the dissertation has already indicated
some interest in the topic so it all looks quite well to me. The overview
that I gave above obviously needs much more elaboration, but as I said, I
have just started developing topics.

I would love to hear your comments on this. Has this been done over and over
already? Are there any source which you think of from the top of your head
which I should check out? Books that you would want to recommend?

As I wrote above, I'm quite new to Haskell. Thus if anyone wants to
recommend some readings specifically on the aspect of modeling in a
functional environment I'd be happy to hear about that too.

All the best,

Lars Oppermann
Hamburg, Germany
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