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

Claus Reinke claus.reinke at talk21.com
Sun Oct 14 14:05:06 EDT 2007

> most widely-used programs (ex: web browsers, word processors, email 
> programs, data bases, IDEs) tend to be 90% IO and 10% (or less) computation. 
> This can make Haskell quite unweildy for solving these types of problems. 
> On the otherhand, writing something like a compiler (which requires a small 
> amount of IO - read a file(s), write results to a file - and a large amount 
> of "unseen" computation - generating and optimizing code) is right up 
> Haskell's alley.

hey, compilers do nothing but IO! they read sources, print error
messages or write object files and executables. there is really no
need to do any "unseen" computation at all! unless there is some
visible effect on the file system or programmer console, any such 
"unseen" computation is wasted, and should be optimised away.

.. just kidding, of course?-)

if compilers seem more suitable for haskell, it may be because
they have been studied for a long time, and while throughput is
important, noone is likely to argue that the core of compilation
is about reading or writing files. the focus in writing compilers
is on designing, implementing and manipulating the internal
representations of the source and object code represented
externally as strings of chars and bytes.

applying the same reasoning to your "most widely-used programs",
we could say that their theory hasn't reached the same level as
that of compilers (and so i'd remove data bases from your list,
and editors are also reasonably well-understood). once their 
internal representations are better understood, programming 
again focusses on working with these internal representations 
(often called models), while IO reduces to a straightforward 
mapping from and to those internal representations that are 
closest to the external ones.


More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list