[Haskell-cafe] Re: [Haskell] Another First course in Haskell

Darrin Thompson darrinth at gmail.com
Wed Aug 27 10:11:06 EDT 2008

On Sat, Aug 23, 2008 at 8:41 AM, Johannes Waldmann <
waldmann at imn.htwk-leipzig.de> wrote:

> (*) that's the main problem I see with Hutton's book
> http://www.cs.nott.ac.uk/~gmh/book.html<http://www.cs.nott.ac.uk/%7Egmh/book.html>:
> it has "Declaring types and classes" as chapter 10 (of 13 total).
> I think that's way off - and it leaves readers (students)
> with the impression that declarative programming
> basically deals with (functions on) lists.
> This may have been true in the 70s/80s (LISP, Prolog),
> but it certainly shouldn't be true today.
> Recall the proverb "Get your data structures correct first,
> and the rest of the program will write itself."
> (David Jones, cited in John Bentley: More Programming Pearls)
> I think this is independent of language and paradigm.
If functions on lists isn't the thing, what is the thing? "Data structures"
isn't a very satisfactory answer for a n00b like me, because it doesn't
capture Haskell's distinctive. I've had this same sense, but in a vague
newbie way.

This also seems to reflect a growing dissatisfaction with the prelude. Back
in the day lazy lists were the thing and the Prelude seems to largely
reflect that. Now it's something else I can't possibly articulate. But I can
definitely see it trying to replace a significant amount of prelude
functionality. Witness that nobody loves strings anymore because ByteStrings
are cooler. The stream/fusion lists are way cooler than the stock lists.

Or I have no idea what I'm talking about.

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