[Haskell-cafe] Doing some things right

Jon Harrop jon at ffconsultancy.com
Sat Dec 29 02:50:32 EST 2007

On Saturday 29 December 2007 07:18:28 Peter Verswyvelen wrote:
> Jon Harrop wrote:
> > However, both F# and Scala have the potential to dwarf all of these
> > languages in the not-so-distant future. I believe F# will do so in 2008
> > but Scala will take 2-3 years because they have far fewer resources to
> > develop essential tools like working IDE plug-ins.
> I agree on that. IMHO, having looked at both F# and Scala, these seem
> like the most pragmatic languages, adding functional programming on top
> of "industry proven" imperative/OO technologies.

F# is certainly pragmatic and I'm hugely impressed with the work they're 
doing. I'm undecided about Scala. It seems to be going in research directions 
that solve new problems at the (grave) expense of usability. In particular, 
it seems to have forgotten many of the lessons taught by languages like OCaml 
and Haskell.

> Furthermore, if F# 
> really becomes an officially supported Microsoft product as promised,
> this will indeed have the potential of rapidly becoming popular. It is
> also possible that C# will get more and more functional features as it
> is currently doing, and hence either become a monster or remain very
> popular in the industry...

Yes. Microsoft have already employed half a dozen people to work on F# full 
time, so I think there is no question that they are putting their money where 
their mouth is.

> And what do you think about Sun's Fortress? I kind of liked that
> language a lot too, but it was way too early to use it.

I have only read a presentation about Fortress and not actually tried to use 
it. While I think it is nice that Sun are trying to do something specfically 
for technical users, I think they would get a lot more out of an 
industrial-strength implementation of ML like F#.

> What I like about Haskell is that the language progresses faster than I
> can learn it ;-) (which might be one of the reasons people don't like
> it, but hey, it's a *research* language, it must advance!)

As much as I like the languages, I would really like to ship commercial 
software for them (e.g. libraries for visualization) but the current 
generation of implementations basically make this impossible.

Dr Jon D Harrop, Flying Frog Consultancy Ltd.

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