[Haskell-cafe] Do real programs need IO? (was IO is a bad example
lennart at augustsson.net
Sun Dec 9 15:14:06 EST 2007
I think TV etc. is fantastic stuff, but that mean that we cannot, say,
invoke an external program in Haskell until someone has figured out a
composable library for this?
I sincerely hope someone will, but the only way we have right now is the
ugly IO monad.
On Dec 9, 2007 7:26 PM, Conal Elliott <conal at conal.net> wrote:
> On Dec 9, 2007 10:07 AM, Daniel Fischer <daniel.is.fischer at web.de> wrote:
> > Interactive programmes without using IO? Cool :)
> And how!
> > I think you misunderstood Lennart.
> Thanks for checking. In this case, I think I understood Lennart fine and
> that he was saying what you're saying.
> > Would you deny that any useful programme has to do at least some of the
> > -accept programme arguments at invocation
> > -get input, be it from a keyboard, mouse, reading files, pipes...
> > -output a result or state info, to the monitor, a file, a pipe...
> If by "programme", you mean the code I write, then I'm happy to deny that
> my programme has to do these things. Examples below. If you include a
> stateful RTS, then no I don't deny it.
> > I think Lennart was referring to that, you HAVE to know a little IO to
> > programmes, at least getArgs, getLine, putStr(Ln), readFile, writeFile,
> > appendFile. And therefore some use of the IO monad has to be taught
> > relatively early.
> Explicit imperative programming is just one way to deal with input &
> output, not the only way. As proof, see FRP, Pan, or TV programs, which
> contain uses of none of these functions. (Nor could they, as these
> libraries are functional, having IO-free types and semantics.) Moreover,
> use of imperative programming sacrifices some of the semantic simplicity &
> composability that makes FP so appealing. That's why I'd like to see this
> belief in its necessity dispelled.
> That said, I don't think the existing functional (non-IO) approaches to
> interaction are quite there yet with the flexibility of imperative
> programming. It will take more work to get them there, and that work is
> mostly likely to be pursued by people who doubt the necessity of IO for
> writing "real programs". In that sense, Lennart's and your statements are
> self-fulfilling prophechies, as are mine.
> BTW, if you haven't seen it already, please check out
> http://haskell.org/haskellwiki/TV . The TV (tangible values) approach
> includes a simple algebra of interfaces (input/output) and keeps separable
> from the core computation. The separability allows the interface parts to
> be composed in parallel with the core part. For instance, when two
> function-valued TVs are composed, the interfaces are peeled off, so that the
> core functions can be composed directly. The output half of one interface
> and the matching input half of the other are discarded. The remaining input
> and output halves are recombined into a new interface, which is used as the
> interface of the composed TV. The core interface algebra can be used for
> text stream i/o, GUIs, and many other possible styles of information
> I mention TV, because it's an example of combining the purity &
> composability I love about FP with the usability a "real" app. For more
> about this combination, please see my Google tech talk "Tangible Functional
> Programming: a modern marriage of usability and composability" (
> That talk focus on end-user composability, but the essential points apply as
> well to explicit programming. As I mentioned before, TV (a) is currently
> less flexible than imperative/IO programming, and (b) has the composability,
> guaranteed safety, and amenability to reasoning of pure functional
> Cheers, - Conal
> Am Sonntag, 9. Dezember 2007 18:31 schrieb Conal Elliott:
> > > > IO is important because you can't write any real program without
> > using
> > > > it.
> > >
> > > Ouch! I get awfully discouraged when I read statements like this one.
> > The
> > > more people who believe it, the more true it becomes. If you want to
> > do
> > > functional programming, instead of imperative programming in a
> > functional
> > > language, you can. For instance, write real, interactive programs in
> > FRP,
> > > phooey, or TV. And if you do, you'll get semantic simplicity,
> > powerful &
> > > simpler reasoning, safety and composability.
> > >
> > > - Conal
> > > On Dec 8, 2007 1:26 AM, Lennart Augustsson < lennart at augustsson.net>
> > > [...]
> > > IO is important because you can't write any real program without using
> > > So why not teach enough of it to get people off the ground straight
> > > People who hang around long enough to do some more Haskell programming
> > > will run into the other monads sooner or later. But IO is an
> unavoidable step to
> > > writing Haskell programs.
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