[Haskell-cafe] On the verge of ... giving up!

Mads Lindstrøm mads_lindstroem at yahoo.dk
Sun Oct 14 07:07:50 EDT 2007

Hi Vimal

> I didnt want to repeat that mistake, so I made sure I would learn IO
> in Haskell, which initially turned out to be a disaster, due to the
> 'Moands' which sounded like 'Go Mads' to me.
> Then, I set out to learn Monads + Category Theory from a Math
> perspective. And since I haven't been introduced to abstract math
> (like Groups, etc.), I found this a little difficult. However I tried
> my best to understand the tiniest bit and waited for the tiniest spark
> that would enlighten me. It didn't work out.

In my opinion (other may think differently) it is not a good idea to
learn IO by starting with trying to grasp the theoretical foundation for
monads. In the beginning you should just view the IO monad as Haskell's
way of doing imperative IO stuff. When you feel comfortable with Haskell
IO, then try to learn a couple of other monads. Then maybe this article
about monad transformers. It is good because it do not try to explain
the implementation details of monad transformers - just how you use
them. When you have done all that, then you should be ready for all the

> --snip--
> Okay, so you might be wondering as to whats the whole point of this
> mail? Well, I am almost on the verge of giving up on something I
> really like to learn, just because I didn't go in the right order!
> So, I requested my institute to buy Dr. Graham Hutton's book. I would
> be getting hold of that quite soon, and am willing to start from the
> beginning.
> Meanwhile, could anyone suggest if there was anything wrong in my
> approach to learning Haskell/the other languages? I agree that the
> learning methodology is something personal and I have to find out what
> best suits me, but I would like to hear something from you,
> Haskellers, too.

As I wrote above, I think you are trying to understand too many details
at once. Also a textbook can sometimes be helpful. But you also have a
learning by doing approach, which I personally find very productive.

And do not give up yet. Haskell has a lot to offer and I think it is
well worth the steep learning curve.


Mads Lindstrøm

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