[Haskell-cafe] Richer (than ascii) notation for haskell source?

Reinier Lamers tux_rocker at reinier.de
Wed May 14 13:20:14 EDT 2008

Hash: SHA1

Op 14-mei-2008, om 15:43 heeft Patrick Surry het volgende geschreven:
> It would be nice to be able to use a richer set of symbols in your  
> source code for operators and functions (e.g. integral, sum, dot  
> and cross-product, …),  as well as variables (the standard upper  
> and lower-case greek for example, along with things like super- and  
> sub-scripting, bold/italic and what-not).  You could imagine ending  
> up with source code that reads just like a mathematical paper.
People have already thought about this, and it partly works already  
in GHC. See http://hackage.haskell.org/trac/haskell-prime/wiki/ 

I don't like, however, the tendency of many Haskell authors to use  
math-like variable names. There are far to many Haskell programs  
where you rarely find a variable name of more than three letters, and  
all those variables that have more than one letter are English names  
for Greek letters like 'phi' or 'mu'.

It makes a difference for your style whether you are just talking to  
humans (a math paper) or to humans and compilers at the same time (a  
computer program). When talking to a compiler, the compiler is not  
interested in the semantical explanations, so programmers mostly  
leave them out. But when you do that, you must make sure that the  
formal language is still comprehensible to humans - I'd say by using  
descriptive variable names.


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