[Haskell-cafe] Comments from OCaml Hacker Brian Hurt

Tristan Seligmann mithrandi at mithrandi.net
Tue Jan 20 12:27:37 EST 2009

* John Goerzen <jgoerzen at complete.org> [2009-01-15 10:15:36 -0600]:

> If you're learning Haskell, which communicates the idea more clearly:
>  * Appendable
> or
>  * Monoid
> I can immediately figure out what the first one means.

I think that's deceptively misleading. Sure, list1 `mappend` list2 is
concatenation, of which Appendable is suggestive; but what on earth does
it mean to append a number to another number, or append a function to
another function? By doing some research, you can find out the answer,
but if you start off with a name that means nothing to you, I suspect
you'll be less confused than if you start off with a name that seems
like it makes sense, but actually doesn't.

(Of course, the name of mappend itself doesn't exactly help...)

> I guess the bottom line question is: who is Haskell for?  Category
> theorists, programmers, or both?  I'd love it to be for both, but I've
> got to admit that Brian has a point that it is trending to the first in
> some areas.

I don't really understand why Appendable is specifically a
"programmer-friendly" name; it doesn't really have any existing meaning
elsewhere in programming languages, for example.
mithrandi, i Ainil en-Balandor, a faer Ambar
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