[Haskell-cafe] Interesting new user perspective

Tommy M. McGuire mcguire at crsr.net
Fri Oct 10 16:00:11 EDT 2008

Iain Barnett wrote:
> On 9 Oct 2008, at 9:33 pm, Andrew Coppin wrote:
>>  I think it's just the teaching of the language that needs work, not 
>> so much the language itself.
> As a newer user myself, I'd agree with this statement. I'd like to see 
> far more mundane tasks solved in tutorials. 

I would agree as well.  My own flailings led to Software Tools in 
Haskell[1], which taught me more about how to actually do things[2] than 
the textbooks that I have read.

> Haskell is can obviously do some really interesting things, but 
> constantly having wikipedia open so I can look up whatever mathematical 
> doodah has just been mentioned can get draining. Even Real World Haskell 
> suffers a bit from this.

The mathematical doodahs are *very* useful, much more so than any other 
language I have used, but it helps to have some kind of foundation to 
understand how and why.  I am frequently reminded of a "How to Draw" 
page from the Tick[3] comic, which went something like:

Step 1: Draw a large oval.
Step 2: Draw the Tick holding the oval.

On 10 Oct 2008, at 7:05 pm, Jonathan Cast wrote:
 > Parsec makes recursive descent parsers as easy to use in Haskell as
 > regexps are in Perl.  No reason not to expose newcomers to Haskell to
 > the thing it does best.

Is it wrong to use Parsec to parse regular expressions for a really 
simple regex engine[4]?

[1] http://www.crsr.net/Programming_Languages/SoftwareTools/index.html

[2] Even if it is the wrong way. :-)

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tick

[4] http://www.crsr.net/Programming_Languages/SoftwareTools/ch6.html 
The engine itself is in Ch. 5.

Tommy M. McGuire
mcguire at crsr.net

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