[Haskell-cafe] New slogan for haskell.org

Dan Weston westondan at imageworks.com
Wed Oct 10 20:24:41 EDT 2007

What we really need is a sort of stress-strain curve for each of the 
major languages. Since Haskell is a typed language, we can have one 
curve for types and one for values:

VARIABLE      TYPE                        VALUE
stress     | effort to learn language  | coding effort/time required

strain     | ability to solve problems | marginal rate that problem
            |                           | is being solved
yield      | knowledge needed to write | boilerplate code needed
strength   | "Hello World" program     |
modulus of | semantic power of         | productivity once boring
elasticity | language syntax           | stuff has been written
ultimate   | expressive power          | NONE
strain     | of the language           |
ultimate   | NONE                      | point at which code
strength   |                           | is getting beyond you
failure    | NONE                      | point at which code is
point      |                           | broken and indecipherable

Each language will be strong in one part of the curve. Haskell is 
superior in those parts of the curve where it matters most in real 
tasks, at the high strain end of the graph, both in type (there's always 
something more to learn, so no programmer burn-out) and in value (one 
person can manage more complexity with less effort).

The PR problem is that newcomers to Haskell are being asked either to:
1) Trust me (but President Bush has strained that argument past failure)
2) Sample the curve at the low end (benchmarks, toy problems) and 
extrapolate the higher end, giving a very false impression

The only answer is to provide a positive marginal interest at each point 
in the language acquisition process to entice the learner to keep 
sampling as (s)he progresses individually up the curve. This is the real 
benefit (and most noble purpose) of haskell-cafe. And of course the 
justification for this strained material science metaphor! :)

Dan Weston

Philippa Cowderoy wrote:
> On Wed, 10 Oct 2007, Andrew Coppin wrote:
>> (I'm less sold on whether you really need to learn a particular dialect 
>> well enough to *program* in it...)
> If you don't then you won't be able to see how complicated things actually 
> get done. It's also an important exercise in abstracting things and 
> keeping something understandable when the system you're building is 
> fighting back against it.

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