[Haskell-cafe] Haskell Propeganda

Aaron Tomb atomb at galois.com
Wed Aug 27 16:34:53 EDT 2008

On Aug 27, 2008, at 12:23 PM, Dan Weston wrote:

> Huh? Type safety buys you not having to worry about dereferencing  
> stale nonnull pointers (lifetime of reference exceeding lifetime of  
> referent), but nothing about dereferencing null pointers, which are  
> the moral equivalent of Nothing.

What type safety buys you, in my mind, is that Nothing is only a valid  
value for explicit Maybe types. In cases where you don't use Maybe,  
the "null" situation just can't occur. In languages with null  
pointers, any pointer could possibly be null.

When you do use Maybe, you have to explicitly handle the Just and  
Nothing cases separately. Pattern matching reminds you that both are  
possible. I tend to view fromJust as a function you should only use if  
you're _very_, _very_ sure that the Nothing case is impossible. But,  
if so, why are you using a Maybe type in the first place?


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