[Haskell-cafe] Channel9 Interview: Software Composability and theFu ture of Languages

Yitzchak Gale gale at sefer.org
Sun Jan 28 07:59:59 EST 2007

Frederick Ross wrote:
> here's my completely anecdotal view of the history
> of "hard" in programming...

This history is accurate and insightful.

> ...when the kids... and the professors pretend that it was always
> this way... then they will grow up... Until then, I
> will continue to hear people say that [Haskell] is... scary

It does not have to wait until then. And it should not.
The resulting mess across the entire software
industry would really be a shame.

Haskell is _not_ inherently hard - any more than any other
programming language. But it is different. So right now,
Haskell is hard only because we need more
documentation that is designed to make Haskell
seem easy.

Literature for university students sometimes needs
to give the message: "Things are not as easy as they
look; you need to learn to think in new ways."
Much of the Haskell literature is written in this style.

Literature for programmers in industry needs
to give the opposite message: "This is easy, even fun.
You can start getting real work done right away.
And then, look at all of the advantages."

This interview illustrates how much people are
noticing Haskell of late - Haskell is hot. If there
were more written in the second style, a lot
more people would start using Haskell.

I think it can be done. Some nice work has
been done in this direction, but it is only
a start.

> they characterize Haskell as being an
> impractical language, only useful for research...
> programming in Haskell is too hard...
> like assembly programming!

These are people whose opinions should not
be taken lightly. So then, how can they say these
things that to us seem so obviously false?

The answer, in my opinion, is that it's not the
language. It's the documentation.


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